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DAILY REFLECTIONS / REFLEXIÓN DIARIA

FOOD THAT GIVES LIFE / ALIMENTOS QUE DA VIDA

We are sharing daily reflections to help nourish our spirit every day of our life. It is hoped that this will provide us moments to reflect deeper on the words of the scriptures, lives of saints, or just random thoughts that can help invigorate our mind and spirit, direct our life and decisions, and impel us to action. May we be true witnesses of the Word of God and bring His love to those around us and uplift the world with hope.


Estamos compartiendo reflexiones diarias para ayudar a nutrir nuestro espíritu todos los días de nuestra vida. Se espera que esto nos brinde momentos para reflexionar más profundamente sobre las palabras de las Escrituras, las vidas de los santos, o simplemente pensamientos aleatorios que pueden ayudar a vigorizar nuestra mente y espíritu, dirigir nuestra vida y decisiones, y nos impulsan a la acción. Que seamos verdaderos testigos de la Palabra de Dios y traigamos su amor a quienes nos rodean y elevemos el mundo con esperanza.

URBI ET ORBI MESSAGE

EXTRAORDINARY MOMENT OF PRAYER

March 27, 2020

Vatican City


“When evening had come” (Mk 4:35). The Gospel passage we have just heard begins like this. For weeks now it has been evening. Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void, that stops everything as it passes by; we feel it in the air, we notice in people’s gestures, their glances give them away. We find ourselves afraid and lost. Like the disciples in the Gospel we were caught off guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm. We have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other. On this boat… are all of us. Just like those disciples, who spoke anxiously with one voice, saying “We are perishing” (v. 38), so we too have realized that we cannot go on thinking of ourselves, but only together can we do this.

It is easy to recognize ourselves in this story. What is harder to understand is Jesus’ attitude. While his disciples are quite naturally alarmed and desperate, he stands in the stern, in the part of the boat that sinks first. And what does he do? In spite of the tempest, he sleeps on soundly, trusting in the Father; this is the only time in the Gospels we see Jesus sleeping. When he wakes up, after calming the wind and the waters, he turns to the disciples in a reproaching voice: “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” (v. 40).

Let us try to understand. In what does the lack of the disciples’ faith consist, as contrasted with Jesus’ trust? They had not stopped believing in him; in fact, they called on him. But we see how they call on him: “Teacher, do you not care if we perish?” (v. 38). Do you not care: they think that Jesus is not interested in them, does not care about them. One of the things that hurts us and our families most when we hear it said is: “Do you not care about me?” It is a phrase that wounds and unleashes storms in our hearts. It would have shaken Jesus too. Because he, more than anyone, cares about us. Indeed, once they have called on him, he saves his disciples from their discouragement.

The storm exposes our vulnerability and uncovers those false and superfluous certainties around which we have constructed our daily schedules, our projects, our habits and priorities. It shows us how we have allowed to become dull and feeble the very things that nourish, sustain and strengthen our lives and our communities. The tempest lays bare all our prepackaged ideas and forgetfulness of what nourishes our people’s souls; all those attempts that anesthetize us with ways of thinking and acting that supposedly “save” us, but instead prove incapable of putting us in touch with our roots and keeping alive the memory of those who have gone before us. We deprive ourselves of the antibodies we need to confront adversity.

In this storm, the façade of those stereotypes with which we camouflaged our egos, always worrying about our image, has fallen away, uncovering once more that (blessed) common belonging, of which we cannot be deprived: our belonging as brothers and sisters.

“Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” Lord, your word this evening strikes us and regards us, all of us. In this world, that you love more than we do, we have gone ahead at breakneck speed, feeling powerful and able to do anything. Greedy for profit, we let ourselves get caught up in things, and lured away by haste. We did not stop at your reproach to us, we were not shaken awake by wars or injustice across the world, nor did we listen to the cry of the poor or of our ailing planet. We carried on regardless, thinking we would stay healthy in a world that was sick. Now that we are in a stormy sea, we implore you: “Wake up, Lord!”.

“Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” Lord, you are calling to us, calling us to faith. Which is not so much believing that you exist, but coming to you and trusting in you. This Lent your call reverberates urgently: “Be converted!”, “Return to me with all your heart” (Joel 2:12). You are calling on us to seize this time of trial as a time of choosing. It is not the time of your judgement, but of our judgement: a time to choose what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not. It is a time to get our lives back on track with regard to you, Lord, and to others. We can look to so many exemplary companions for the journey, who, even though fearful, have reacted by giving their lives. This is the force of the Spirit poured out and fashioned in courageous and generous self-denial. It is the life in the Spirit that can redeem, value and demonstrate how our lives are woven together and sustained by ordinary people – often forgotten people – who do not appear in newspaper and magazine headlines nor on the grand catwalks of the latest show, but who without any doubt are in these very days writing the decisive events of our time: doctors, nurses, supermarket employees, cleaners, caregivers, providers of transport, law and order forces, volunteers, priests, religious men and women and so very many others who have understood that no one reaches salvation by themselves. In the face of so much suffering, where the authentic development of our peoples is assessed, we experience the priestly prayer of Jesus: “That they may all be one” (Jn 17:21). How many people every day are exercising patience and offering hope, taking care to sow not panic but a shared responsibility. How many fathers, mothers, grandparents and teachers are showing our children, in small everyday gestures, how to face up to and navigate a crisis by adjusting their routines, lifting their gaze and fostering prayer. How many are praying, offering and interceding for the good of all. Prayer and quiet service: these are our victorious weapons.

“Why are you afraid? Have you no faith”?Faith begins when we realise we are in need of salvation. We are not self-sufficient; by ourselves we founder: we need the Lord, like ancient navigators needed the stars. Let us invite Jesus into the boats of our lives. Let us hand over our fears to him so that he can conquer them. Like the disciples, we will experience that with him on board there will be no shipwreck. Because this is God’s strength: turning to the good everything that happens to us, even the bad things. He brings serenity into our storms, because with God life never dies.

The Lord asks us and, in the midst of our tempest, invites us to reawaken and put into practice that solidarity and hope capable of giving strength, support and meaning to these hours when everything seems to be floundering. The Lord awakens so as to reawaken and revive our Easter faith. We have an anchor: by his cross we have been saved. We have a rudder: by his cross we have been redeemed. We have a hope: by his cross we have been healed and embraced so that nothing and no one can separate us from his redeeming love. In the midst of isolation when we are suffering from a lack of tenderness and chances to meet up, and we experience the loss of so many things, let us once again listen to the proclamation that saves us: he is risen and is living by our side. The Lord asks us from his cross to rediscover the life that awaits us, to look towards those who look to us, to strengthen, recognize and foster the grace that lives within us. Let us not quench the wavering flame (cf. Is 42:3) that never falters, and let us allow hope to be rekindled.

Embracing his cross means finding the courage to embrace all the hardships of the present time, abandoning for a moment our eagerness for power and possessions in order to make room for the creativity that only the Spirit is capable of inspiring. It means finding the courage to create spaces where everyone can recognize that they are called, and to allow new forms of hospitality, fraternity and solidarity. By his cross we have been saved in order to embrace hope and let it strengthen and sustain all measures and all possible avenues for helping us protect ourselves and others. Embracing the Lord in order to embrace hope: that is the strength of faith, which frees us from fear and gives us hope.

“Why are you afraid? Have you no faith”?Dear brothers and sisters, from this place that tells of Peter’s rock-solid faith, I would like this evening to entrust all of you to the Lord, through the intercession of Mary, Health of the People and Star of the stormy Sea. From this colonnade that embraces Rome and the whole world, may God’s blessing come down upon you as a consoling embrace. Lord, may you bless the world, give health to our bodies and comfort our hearts. You ask us not to be afraid. Yet our faith is weak and we are fearful. But you, Lord, will not leave us at the mercy of the storm. Tell us again: “Do not be afraid” (Mt 28:5). And we, together with Peter, “cast all our anxieties onto you, for you care about us” (cf. 1 Pet 5:7).


Pope Francis

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CUARTA SEMANA EN CUARESMA - LUNES

MIRAR HACIA ADELANTE

 Año 1

23 de marzo, 2020


En este momento cuando necesitamos asegurarnos de que todo estará bien, aún nos encontramos dudando si las promesas que se hicieron serán ciertas. Estamos abrumados por tantos datos estadísticos sobre lo que puede ser. Muchos de los cuales nunca son alentadores. Miramos con temor los grandes números ante nuestros ojos. Nos preguntamos si aún podemos ver la luz de otro día.


Los pronósticos que dan muchas de las noticias que vimos, escuchamos o leemos no son alentadores. A veces sería mejor si apagamos todas las noticias y nos escondemos de todo. Parecía que nos dieron una sentencia de muerte y no hay forma de que podamos escapar de ella. Todos sabemos que algún día moriríamos, pero no esperamos que suceda tan pronto y de manera tan terrible.


Hay algo en la primera lectura y el evangelio que nos proporciona algo para reflexionar durante este tiempo de crisis.


Las palabras del profeta Isaías nos llaman a la promesa de Dios. Las personas a las que se dirige Isaías en la lectura son aquellas que han sido exiliadas. Todo les fue quitado. No tienen nada: sin príncipe, sin profeta y sin templo. Entendieron que habían hecho el mal y merecían el castigo. También saben que no merecen nada que sea bueno. Y sin embargo, Dios se mantuvo fiel a su promesa a su pueblo. Los redimirá no porque se lo merezcan, sino porque los amaba. La imagen que Isaías le dio a la gente no es simplemente la de restaurarlos a la tierra. Es una visión de algo que eliminaría de su vista el amargo destino por el que pasaron. Todo se hará nuevo.


Es esa esperanza la que sostuvo a la gente durante sus años de exilio y en los años siguientes. Es una visión, así que algo que puede parecer remoto pero que está casi cerca como si lo tocara con la punta de los dedos. La esperanza colmó esa brecha. No es una utopía. Es una promesa que valió la pena esperar. Y la única seguridad es que Dios es fiel a su pueblo, incluso si le fueron infieles.


El evangelio también apunta a una situación similar. Un funcionario real vino a Jesús pidiéndole que viniera a su casa y sanara al hijo del funcionario real. Su hijo era el punto de la muerte. La historia tiene un giro sorprendente. Jesús no fue con el funcionario real para curar a su hijo. Jesús simplemente le dijo que se fuera a casa. Y que su "hijo vivirá".


Si estuvieras en el lugar del funcionario real, ¿irías a casa y creerías en lo que Jesús dijo? ¿O prefieres rogar aún más que Jesús vaya contigo? ¿Son suficientes las palabras de Jesús? ¿O le gustaría una señal más segura?

El funcionario creía en las palabras de Jesús. Eso puede ser fácil de decir. Pero al igual que cualquier persona humana, el viaje de regreso a casa puede estar lleno de preguntas y dudas. No hay otra garantía que no sean las palabras de Jesús. Pero continuó aferrándose a esa promesa. No estaba consternado. Jesús dijo la verdad.


En este momento de incertidumbre, solo tenemos que confiar en nuestra fe. Creemos en los talentos dados por Dios de todos aquellos que buscan una solución. Creemos en el hecho de que todos están haciendo lo mejor que pueden. Creemos que la gran brecha entre lo suficiente y lo insuficiente algún día se llenará. Creemos que Dios está cada vez más involucrado en nuestra lucha y continúa manteniendo nuestros esfuerzos. Y esperamos ver la luz del día. Nunca permaneceremos sepultados.


Esta noche, un amigo mío me preguntó si está bien decorar la iglesia con una cruz vacía y una tumba vacía, ya que no celebraremos la Pascua. Esta es mi respuesta a él:


“Tendremos Pascua con o sin la gente en la celebración litúrgica. Todavía proclamaremos la proclamación de Pascua, el EXULTET, y lo proclamaremos con valentía en la Vigilia de Pascua. Todavía proclamaremos que Jesús está vivo. Y así lo estaremos.


Proclamemos esta fe y esperanza que tenemos en Jesús. Deja que su luz brille a través de esta oscuridad. 


P. Pio Pareja, MMHC

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fourth week of lent - mONDAY

TO LOOK FORWARD

Year 1

March 23, 2020


In this moment when we need assurance that everything will be just fine, we still find ourselves dwelling in doubt whether the promises that were made will be true. We are overwhelmed by so many statistical data about what can be. Many of which are never encouraging. We look with dread at the great numbers before our eyes. We wonder whether we can still see the light of another day. 


The prognostics that are given by many of the news we saw, heard or read are not encouraging. Sometimes it would just be better if we turn off all the news and hide from it all. It seemed like that we were given a death warrant and there is no way we can escape it. We all know we would die someday but we just do not expect it to happen so soon and in such appalling manner. 


There is something in the first reading and the gospel that provides us with something to reflect upon during this time of crisis.


The words of the prophet Isaiah calls us to promise of God. The people addressed by Isaiah in the reading are those who have been exiled. Everything was taken away from them. They do not have anything: no prince, no prophet, and no temple. They understood that they have done evil and they deserved the punishment. They also know that they do not deserve anything that is good. And yet God remained faithful to His promise to His people. He will redeem them not because they deserve it but because He loved them. The imagery that Isaiah gave to the people is not simply that of restoring them to the land. It is a vision of something that would remove from their sight the bitter fate that they went through. Everything will be made new. 


It is that hope that sustained the people through their years of exile and in the years that would follow. It is a vision so something that may seem remote but that is almost near as if touching it with their fingertips. Hope bridged that gap. It is not a utopia. It is promise that was worth waiting. And the only assurance is that God is faithful to His people even if they were unfaithful to Him.


The gospel also points to a similar situation. A royal official came to Jesus asking that Jesus would come down and heal royal official’s son. His son was a the point of death. The story has a surprising twist. Jesus did not go with the royal official to cure his son. Jesus simple told him to go home. And that his “son will live.” 

If you were the in the place of the royal official, would you go home and believe in what Jesus said? Or would you rather beg all the more that Jesus goes with you? Are the words of Jesus enough? Or would you want a more assuring sign? 


The official believed in the words of Jesus. That may be easy to say. But just like any human person, the journey back home might be fraught with questions and doubts. There is no other assurance other than the words of Jesus. But he continued on holding on to that promise. He was not dismayed. Jesus did speak the truth. 


At this moment of uncertainty, we only have our faith to hang on. We believe in the God-given talents of all those who are searching for solution. We believe in the fact that all are doing their best. We believe that the great gap between sufficient and insufficient will one day be filled up. We believe that God is ever more involve in our struggle and continues to sustain our efforts. And we do hope that we shall see the light of day. We will never remain entombed.


This evening a friend of mine asked me if it is alright to decorate the church with an empty cross and an empty tomb since we will not be celebrating Easter. This is my response to him:


“We will have Easter with or without the people in the liturgical celebration. We will still proclaim the Easter proclamation, the EXULTET, and proclaim it boldly on Easter Vigil. We will still proclaim that Jesus is alive. And so we shall be.”


Let us proclaim this faith and hope that we have in Jesus. Let his light shine through this darkness. 


Fr. Pius Pareja, MMHC

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FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT

BEING BLIND TO SEE THE TRUTH

Year A 

March 22, 2020


I was looking at my Facebook account and I was trying to see what are the different postings and messages that people are putting into their account. I found some amusing and downright funny posting. I was appalled by some who intentionally or unintentionally added to the confusion by sending out messages that are fake news and at times insensitive to the gravity of the situation. At the same time I found messages that appears prophetic by quoting from the book of the Prophets in the Bible and condemns the present generation for their sins and points out that COVID-19 is God’s punishment for the sins of the people. 


Before I make a comment on such message, let us listen to the words of the Gospel today: 


“As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.’”


We are too quick to judge the situation of others by the end result of their lives today. When we see bad things happening in their lives we always conclude that it is a result of their bad habits, wrong decisions, or something that they deserved. We may be “correct” in our judgment if we know the person. We always see their “bad fortune” as a result of something they have done wrong.


If we are only looking at God in terms of reward and punishment, we may even be correct in our statement. But there is also something that the Old Testament writers were grappling to understand – “Why do just and good people suffer and the evil doers prosper? If God is good, why does He allow evil to continue? If God is powerful, why is He not intervening to prevent disaster to happen to the innocent?” These are just some of the many questions that do not have clear answers. The books of Job and of the prophet Jonah are but some of the books in the Bible that tried to pierce into the mystery of suffering and evil. Did they have the complete answer? No! They only provided a way of looking at the reality and provide a way of seeing God who is at work in and through these situations. But still some questions remains.


Jesus was confronted by the same age old question confronting human misery. “Who sinned – this man or his parents?” Infirmities were seen as God’s punishment for sins committed. Good health is a reward for being good and just. But the response of Jesus surprised the disciples – “Neither he or his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.” 


While it is true that God can make use of nature to punish the sinfulness of man, it would be wrong to totally ascribe to what is happening as an act of God. There are so many things that happen which are products of acts of man. We created or helped create the situation. 


To continue on these arguments will only detract us from what we should be focusing. 


       What I realize during the past week are the following:

       We can only appreciate the star when it is dark. 

       We can only experience that longing for something or someone when it is withhold from us or when we  

               become apart. 

       We only become aware of the value of something or someone until we lose them. 

       We can only deeply understand our need for another until we realize our limitations. 

       We become more secure when we are together. 

       We see human kindness at its best when we are in our worst situations. 

       We are able to see what we can still do when we are faced with restriction. 

       We become more imaginative and creative. 

       We grow inwardly in order to empower our capacity to do something.

       We became more contemplative since we have nothing more to do but raise our thoughts and our hearts 

               to God.

       We are able to go beyond what is humanly possible to surpass the challenges that we face. 

       We became more connected to those that really matter. 

       We have become more sensitive to the needs of others. 

       We have learned to put our selfishness, our pride, and our egocentric mentality behind for the good of all.

       We realized that it is better to light just one little candle than curse the darkness.


These are silver linings that I am able to see as go through this together. These helped us see beyond the blindness that this situation creates. This is God’s grace that is at work in you and me. 

 

When all we do is complain, we fail to see the beautiful realities that are emerging. We become blind. We become depressed. We become negative. 


God is giving us an opportunity to see the situation as an opportunity to rediscover:

       - those things, those opportunities, and those people that we take for granted; 

       - those that we never noticed because we were too busy doing other things;

       - the beauty of those moments to be together and make it better;

       - the need to change our attitudes and way of living;

       - the magic of creativeness and thinking outside the box;

       - the invitation to deepen our faith even when we do not see the end of the tunnel; strengthen our hope 

                 to see beyond the realities that obscure our vision; and to expand our capacity to love; but above all, 

       - the call to be still and to listen, to pray and to contemplate, to discover God in a new way, and to know 

                 Him intimately.


As we continue our living our life within the context of social distancing, may we rediscover the path to wholeness, healing, and sense of oneness with God and our neighbor. 


Let us become God’s instrument to help others see. Let us not muddle and obscure the vision of hope. Let us become the dirt that Jesus combined with his spittle that helps to open the eyes that are blind. Let the water of grace wash away those that keeps us from seeing. 


Fr. Pius Pareja, MMHC

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CUARTO DOMINGO DE CUARESMA

ESTAR CIEGO PARA VER LA VERDAD

Año A

22 de marzo de 2020


Estaba mirando mi cuenta de Facebook y estaba tratando de ver cuáles son las diferentes publicaciones y mensajes que las personas están poniendo en su cuenta. Encontré algunas publicaciones divertidas y francamente cómico. Yo estaba horrorizado por algunos que intencionalmente o no agrega a la confusión al enviar mensajes que son noticias falsas y, a veces, insensibles a la gravedad de la situación. Al mismo tiempo, encontré mensajes que parecen proféticos al citar el libro de los Profetas en la Biblia y condena a la generación actual por sus pecados y señala que COVID-19 es el castigo de Dios por los pecados de la gente.


Antes de hacer un comentario sobre tal mensaje, escuchemos las palabras del Evangelio hoy:


“En aquel tiempo, Jesús vio al pasar a un ciego de nacimiento, y sus discípulos le preguntaron: ‘Maestro, ¿quién pecó para que éste naciera ciego, él o sus padres?’ Jesús respondió: ‘Ni él pecó, ni tampoco sus padres. Nació así para que en él se manifestaran las obras de Dios.’”


Somos demasiado rápidos para juzgar la situación de los demás por el resultado final de sus vidas hoy. Cuando vemos que suceden cosas malas en sus vidas, siempre concluimos que es el resultado de sus malos hábitos, decisiones equivocadas o algo que se merecían. Podemos ser "correctos" en nuestro juicio si conocemos a la persona. Siempre vemos su "mala fortuna" como resultado de algo que han hecho mal.

Si solo estamos mirando a Dios en términos de recompensa y castigo, podemos estar en lo correcto en nuestra declaración. Pero también hay algo que los escritores del Antiguo Testamento estaban tratando de entender: “¿Por qué sufren las personas justas y buenas y prosperan los malvados? Si Dios es bueno, ¿por qué permite que continúe el mal? Si Dios es poderoso, ¿por qué no está interviniendo para evitar que ocurra un desastre para los inocentes? Estas son solo algunas de las muchas preguntas que no tienen respuestas claras. Los libros de Job y del profeta Jonás son solo algunos de los libros de la Biblia que intentaron penetrar en el misterio del sufrimiento y el mal. ¿Tenían la respuesta completa? ¡No! Solo proporcionaron una forma de ver la realidad y una forma de ver a Dios que está trabajando en estas situaciones y a través de ellas. Pero aún quedan algunas preguntas.


Jesús se enfrentó a la misma pregunta ancestral que confronta la miseria humana. “Maestro, ¿quién pecó para que éste naciera ciego, él o sus padres?”  Las enfermedades se veían como el castigo de Dios por los pecados cometidos. La buena salud es una recompensa por ser bueno y justo. Pero la respuesta de Jesús sorprendió a los discípulos: “Ni él pecó, ni tampoco sus padres. Nació así para que en él se manifestaran las obras de Dios.”


Si bien es cierto que Dios puede hacer uso de la naturaleza para castigar la pecaminosidad del hombre, sería un error atribuir totalmente lo que está sucediendo como un acto de Dios. Hay tantas cosas que suceden que son productos de los actos del hombre. Creamos o ayudamos a crear la situación.


Continuar con estos argumentos solo nos restará valor a lo que deberíamos centrarnos.


De lo que me di cuenta durante la semana pasada son los siguientes:


      Solo podemos apreciar la estrella cuando está oscuro.

      Solo podemos experimentar ese anhelo por algo o alguien cuando se nos oculta o cuando nos separamos.

      Solo nos damos cuenta del valor de algo o alguien hasta que lo perdemos.

      Solo podemos entender profundamente nuestra necesidad de otro hasta que nos demos cuenta de 

            nuestras limitaciones.

      Nos volvemos más seguros cuando estamos juntos.

      Vemos la bondad humana en su mejor momento cuando estamos en nuestras peores situaciones.

      Podemos ver lo que aún podemos hacer cuando nos enfrentamos a restricciones.

      Nos volvemos más imaginativos y creativos.

      Crecemos interiormente para potenciar nuestra capacidad de hacer algo.

      Nos volvimos más contemplativos ya que no tenemos nada más que hacer que elevar nuestros 

            pensamientos y nuestros corazones a Dios.

      Somos capaces de ir más allá de lo humanamente posible para superar los desafíos que enfrentamos.

      Nos conectamos más con los que realmente importan.

      Nos hemos vuelto más sensibles a las necesidades de los demás.

      Hemos aprendido a dejar atrás nuestro egoísmo, nuestro orgullo y nuestra mentalidad egocéntrica por el     

            bien de todos.

      Nos dimos cuenta de que es mejor encender solo una pequeña vela que maldecir la oscuridad.


Estos son rayos de luz que puedo ver mientras pasan por esto juntos. Esto nos ayudó a ver más allá de la ceguera que crea esta situación. Esta es la gracia de Dios que está trabajando en ti y en mí.


Cuando todo lo que hacemos es quejarnos, no vemos las hermosas realidades que están surgiendo. Nos volvemos ciegos. Nos deprimimos Nos volvemos negativos.


Dios nos está dando la oportunidad de ver la situación como una oportunidad para redescubrir: 

      - esas cosas, esas oportunidades y esas personas que damos por sentado;

      - los que nunca notamos porque estábamos demasiado ocupados haciendo otras cosas;

      - la belleza de esos momentos para estar juntos y mejorarlo;

      - la necesidad de cambiar nuestras actitudes y forma de vida;

      - la magia de la creatividad y el pensamiento fuera de la forma habitual;

      - la invitación a profundizar nuestra fe incluso cuando no vemos el final del túnel; fortalecer nuestra 

             esperanza de ver más allá de las realidades que oscurecen nuestra visión; y expandir nuestra capacidad 

             de amar; pero sobre todo,

      - el llamado a estar quieto y escuchar, rezar y contemplar, descubrir a Dios de una manera nueva y 

             conocerlo íntimamente.


A medida que continuamos viviendo nuestra vida dentro del contexto del distanciamiento social, podemos redescubrir el camino hacia la integridad, la curación y el sentido de unidad con Dios y nuestro prójimo.


Convirtámonos en el instrumento de Dios para ayudar a otros a ver. No confundamos y oscurezcamos la visión de la esperanza. Convirtámonos en la tierra que Jesús combinó con su saliva que ayuda a abrir los ojos que son ciegos. Deje que el agua de la gracia lave aquellas cosas que nos impiden ver.


P. Pio Pareja, MMHC

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god's faithfulness - a call to be faithful

Solemnity of St. Joseph, the husband of Mary

March 19, 2020


Today is the solemnity of St. Joseph, the husband of Mary. We take a time off from the regular reading for Lent and listen to the readings proper to the celebration.


As I reflect on the readings of this day, one word came to focus - FAITHFULNESS. 


The first reading speaks of God's faithfulness in fulfilling His promise, His commitment to David. Even if the later descendants of David were unfaithful to Him, He remained faithful to the vow He has made. 


The second reading speaks of the faithfulness of Abraham to God through all the hardships he endured. He trusted in God even when all he has was God's promise. He held on even when it seems impossible. And even if God seems to be taking away the only link to the fulfillment of the promise, Abraham was willing to obey and let go.


The gospel speaks of Joseph accepting God's call for him to be the father of His Son, Jesus and take Mary as his wife. Joseph faithfully discharged his vocation not simply in the aspect of obligation but in the totality of self-giving to his family as father and husband.


These challenge me to examine myself in terms of my own faithfulness. 


Faithfulness goes beyond the 'give and take' attitude. Sometimes when people do not keep their end of the bargain, it can give us a fair excuse not to keep our end of the bargain. It is just fair. "Why would I be faithful when the other one is not?" God's faithfulness is rooted in His innate goodness and not on others. He chooses to be faithful because He is faithful. To do it differently is to deny His very being. This challenges me to be faithful even if I would be the only one doing. The point of reference is not whether others are doing it but God who is ever faithful.


Faithfulness shines more brilliantly when it is not easy, when we can only see dimly or hardly any, when the only thing that keeps us hanging on is a promise. We have our own share of disappointment. Expectations play a great role in our decisions to continue or to consider other options. Abraham leads us to look beyond disappointments, detours, delays, and even the seemingly inconsistencies.


Faithfulness is embracing the whole reality of our vocation even if it may not be according to our plans. We want things to be perfect in everything and deviation from the path that we have charted upsets us. Life is not about having everything perfectly but perfecting the imperfect reality we have. It is making the best of whatever situation we find ourselves in. It is opening ourselves to the possibilities that the sudden turn of events may lead us to. Joseph has shown us great adaptability in embracing new realities of his journey. He may not be familiar with it, but knowing it is the path to take, he forged on and without looking back and faithfully lived his life as father to Jesus and husband to Mary.


Whatever may be our challenge to be faithful, may these assist us and lead us to faithfully journey on the path we are called to respond in faith..


Fr. Pius Pareja. MMHC



 

FIDELIDAD
Solemnidad de San José, esposo de María
19 de marzo de 2020


Hoy es la solemnidad de San José, el esposo de María.


Tomamos un tiempo libre de la lectura regular para la Cuaresma y escuchamos las lecturas propias de la celebración.


Mientras reflexiono sobre las lecturas de este día, una palabra vino a enfocarse: FIDELIDAD.

La segunda lectura habla de la fidelidad de Abraham a Dios a través de todas las dificultades que soportó. Confió en Dios incluso cuando todo lo que tenía era la promesa de Dios. Aguantó incluso cuando parece imposible. E incluso si Dios parece estar quitando el único eslabón para el cumplimiento de la promesa, Abraham estaba dispuesto a obedecer y dejar ir.


El evangelio habla de José aceptando el llamado de Dios para que él sea el padre de su Hijo, Jesús y tome a María como su esposa. Joseph cumplió fielmente su vocación no solo en el aspecto de la obligación sino en la totalidad de la entrega a su familia como padre y esposo.


Estos me desafían a examinarme en términos de mi propia fidelidad.


La fidelidad va más allá de la actitud de "dar y recibir". A veces, cuando las personas no cumplen con su parte del trato, puede darnos una excusa justa para no mantener nuestro parte del trato. Es justo "¿Por qué sería fiel cuando el otro no lo es?" La fidelidad de Dios está enraizada en su bondad innata y no en los demás. Él elige ser fiel porque es fiel. Hacerlo de manera diferente es negar su propio ser. Esto me desafía a ser fiel, incluso si fuera el único en hacerlo. El punto de referencia no es si otros lo están haciendo sino Dios que siempre es fiel.


La fidelidad brilla más cuando no es fácil, cuando solo podemos ver tenuemente o casi nada, cuando lo único que nos mantiene aferrados es una promesa. Tenemos nuestra propia parte de decepción. Las expectativas juegan un gran papel en nuestras decisiones de continuar o considerar otras opciones. Abraham nos lleva a mirar más allá de las decepciones, desvíos, retrasos e incluso las inconsistencias aparentemente.

La fidelidad abarca toda la realidad de nuestra vocación, incluso si no está de acuerdo con nuestros planes. Queremos que las cosas sean perfectas en todo y la desviación del camino que hemos trazado nos trastorna. La vida no se trata de tener todo perfectamente sino de perfeccionar la realidad imperfecta que tenemos. Está aprovechando al máximo cualquier situación en la que nos encontremos. Nos está abriendo a las posibilidades a las que nos puede llevar el giro repentino de los acontecimientos. Joseph nos ha mostrado una gran adaptabilidad al abrazar nuevas realidades de su viaje. Puede que no esté familiarizado con eso, pero sabiendo que es el camino a seguir, siguió adelante sin mirar atrás y vivió fielmente su vida como padre de Jesús y esposo de María.


Cualquiera que sea nuestro desafío para ser fieles, que nos ayuden y nos lleven a un viaje fiel en el camino al que estamos llamados a responder con fe.


P. Pius Pareja, MMHC

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