Friday, October 19, 2018


OCT 21: WORLD MISSION SUNDAY – 2018

A room-service waiter at a Marriott hotel learned that the sister of a guest had just died. The waiter, named Charles, bought a sympathy card, had hotel staff members sign it, and gave it to the distraught guest with a piece of hot apple pie.
"Mr. Marriott," the guest later wrote to the president of Marriott Hotels, "I'll never meet you. And I don't need to meet you. Because I met Charles. I know what you stand for. I want to assure you that as long as I live, I will stay at your hotels. And I will tell my friends to stay at your hotels."
Today is world mission Sunday. A Sunday dedicated to reminding us of our mission to preach the gospel every day. Like Charles who conveyed the message of hospitality and sympathy through his kind action we are also called to present the Gospel before others. We may be the only gospel others may ever get to read in their life.
This annual observance was instituted 92 years ago in 1926 by a Papal decree issued by Pope Pius XI. Every year since then, the universal Church has dedicated the month of October to reflection on and prayer for the missions. This annual celebration gives us a chance to reflect on the importance of mission work for the life of the Church. It reminds us that we are one with the Church around the world and that we are all committed to carrying on the mission of Christ, however different our situations may be. The greatest missionary challenge that we face at home is a secular and consumerist culture in which God is not important, moral values are relative and institutional religions are deemed unnecessary.
Pope Benedict encouraged the sending of missionaries from Church communities which have a large number of vocations to serve those communities of the West which experience a shortage of vocations.  In 2009, the Pope clarified that the “the goal of the Church’s mission is to illumine all peoples with the light of the Gospel as they journey through history towards God.”

The Church, according to Vatican Council II, is “missionary” in her very nature because her founder, Jesus Christ, was the first missionary.   God the Father sent God the Son into the world with a message.   This message, called the Gospel or the “Good News,” is explicitly stated in John 3:16: “For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die, but have eternal life.”  St. Paul writes to Timothy about the Church’s mission: “God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (I Tim. 2:4). Thus, the evangelizing mission of the Church is essentially the announcement of God’s love, mercy, forgiveness, and salvation as these are revealed to mankind through the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord. The Gospels show us how Jesus demonstrated this all-embracing and unconditional love of God by his life, suffering, death, and Resurrection.
Jesus, the first missionary, made a permanent arrangement for inviting all men throughout the ages to share God’s love and salvation:  “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.” (Mt 28:19).  This is why the Council Fathers of the Second Vatican Council declared that the Church of Christ “is missionary in its origin and nature.”  Hence, it follows that the mission of the Church is the mission of every member of the Church, and is not reserved for the priests, the religious, and the active missionaries alone.    Thus, every Christian is a missionary with a message to share — the message of God’s love, liberation, and eternal salvation.
There is a striking story about one remote area in western Sudan. Expatriate missionaries, especially priests, Brothers and Sisters, had labored there for many years with few visible results. Then expatriate lay missionaries — married and single — came to that area and soon many Sudanese people became Catholics. A Sudanese elder explained: “When we saw the priests and Sisters living separately and alone we didn’t want to be like them. But when we saw Catholic families — men, women and children — living happily together, we wanted to be like them.”

The most powerful means of fulfilling this goal is by living a truly   Christian life — a life filled with love, mercy, kindness, compassion and a forgiving spirit.   Mr. Gandhi used to say:   “My life is my message.”  He often challenged the Christian missionaries to observe the “apostolate of the rose.”   A rose doesn’t preach. It simply radiates its fragrance and attracts everyone to it by its irresistible beauty.   Hence, the most important thing is not the Gospel we preach, but the life we live.  This is how the early Christians evangelized.   Their Gentile neighbors used to say:  “See how these Christians love one another.”   The Christ they recognized and accepted was the Christ who lived in each Christian.

Prayer is the second means of missionary work.  Jesus said: “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Therefore, prayer is necessary for anyone who wishes to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.   In his message for World Mission Sunday, 2004, Pope St. John Paul II stressed the fact that the Holy Spirit would help us to become witnesses of Christ only in an atmosphere of prayer.  Since missionaries are weak human beings and since witnessing to Christ through life is not easy, we need to support them by our prayers.
Hence, on this Mission Sunday, let us learn to appreciate our missionary obligation and support the Church’s missionary activities by leading transparent Christian lives, by fervent prayers, and by generous donations.



Saturday, October 13, 2018


OT XXVIII [B] (Oct 14) Wis 7:7-11; Heb 4:12-13; Mk 10:17-30 (L-18)

With a coconut, some roasted peanuts or rice and a string, tribal people living in the border of forests in Africa, Sri Lanka and India have been trapping monkeys for centuries.  At one end of the coconut, they open a hole that is big enough to allow a monkey’s hand to push inside. However, the hole is too small for a monkey to remove his hand when he makes a fist.  On the other end of the coconut, a string is firmly attached and tied to a tree trunk.  The coconut trap, with roasted peanuts or roasted rice inside, is placed along a monkey’s trail, and the trapper hides behind bushes with a net.  The monkey smells the peanuts and is attracted to them.   He puts his hand through the hole and grabs a handful of peanuts, after which it is impossible for him to remove his hand since he is unwilling to let go of the peanuts.  Suddenly the trapper casts the net over the monkey and traps it.  We too are attracted by different “peanuts” that can be detrimental to our spiritual and physical pursuits.  Today’s Gospel presents a rich young man who wants eternal life but will not relinquish “the peanuts” of riches.
Today’s readings remind us that we do not possess anything in our life that we refuse to surrender to the Lord.  But, in reality our “possessions” often possess us, and we become their prisoners. What we really do is give our “things” top priority in our lives. Thus, we violate the First Great Commandment, which demands that we give absolute and unconditional priority to God.

The first reading advises us to use the God-given virtue of prudence and to seek true wisdom rather than to seek vanishing realities like riches or political and social influence.  Solomon chose Wisdom before everything else.  But when he accepted Wisdom, he received everything else along with her. Since Jesus is Wisdom Incarnate, when we put following Jesus ahead of everything else, we receive everything else along with Jesus.
This rich young man who came to Jesus in search of eternal life really wanted to be accepted by Jesus as a disciple. However, Jesus did not want this man as a disciple on his own terms, but rather on Jesus’ terms.  The young man claimed that, from his youth, he had observed all the commandments Jesus mentioned, including the fourth commandment.  His tragedy was that he loved “things” more than people.  He was trapped by the idea that he could keep his possessions and still obtain God’s mercy.  He failed to realize the fact that his riches had built a wall between himself and God.  In other words, his possessions “possessed” him.  Even though the rich man had never killed, stolen, or committed adultery, he was breaking both the commandment forbidding idolatry and the one commanding love of neighbor.  He worshiped his wealth more than God. Jesus asks him to break his selfish attachment to his wealth by sharing it.  He makes the same challenge to each of us today.  Our following of Jesus has to be totally and absolutely unconditional. 

An old mountaineer was on his deathbed. He called his wife to him. “Elviry,” he said, “go to the fireplace and take out that loose stone under the mantle.” She did as instructed, and behind that loose stone she found a shoe box crammed full of cash. “That’s all the money I’ve saved through the years,” said the mountaineer. “When I go, I’m goin’ to take it with me. I want you to take that box up to the attic and set it by the window. I’ll get it as I go by on my way to heaven.” His wife followed his instructions. That night, the old mountaineer died. Several days after the funeral, his wife remembered the shoe box. She climbed up to the attic. There it was, still full of money, sitting by the window. “Oh,” she thought, “I knew it. I knew I should have put it in the basement instead of the attic.”
As someone has said, “We can’t take it with us, but we can send it on ahead.”

We all have something in our lives that serves as a major obstacle to happiness and peace.  We must recognize this obstacle and address it head-on.  It may not be riches — it may be anger, holding grudges, alcohol, drugs, lust, apathy, lies, unfaithfulness, theft, or fraud.  Let us invite God into our lives and into our efforts to face and remove that one obstacle to holiness.  We have a decision to make: whether to go away sad like the rich young man, or to follow Jesus and be happy. 




Saturday, October 6, 2018


Oct 7: THE FEAST OF OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY

October is the month of Rosary. October 7th is the feast of our Lady of the Rosary. So we say solemn rosary before the masses during this month.  The word Rosary means “crown of roses” or “garland of roses” and each prayer in the Rosary is considered a flower presented to Mary. The prayers we repeat are Biblical and, hence, “inspired,” and the mysteries we meditate upon are taken from the lives of Jesus and Mary.  As we are saying the Rosary, we are, in fact, in contact with two of the most basic prayers in our Christian tradition: the Lord’s Prayer (the Our Father), and the Angelic Salutation (the Hail Mary).  The first is fully rooted in the Scriptures, taught by Jesus Himself. The second is largely rooted in the Scriptures, its first half echoing the words of the Archangel Gabriel and of Elizabeth as each addressed Mary.  The third prayer — the “Glory be to the Father” — ancient in its wording — surely reflects the unceasing prayer of adoration and praise found in the Book of Revelation.

The first major Rosary miracle, and one of the most impressive, is the one that occurred at the Battle of Lepanto. This historic battle took place on 7 October 1571 when a fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of southern European Catholic maritime states, decisively defeated the main fleet of the Ottoman Empire in five hours of fighting at Lepanto, on the northern edge of the Gulf of Corinth, off western Greece. The defeat was attributed to the effect rosaries recited by the soldiers and their respective countrymen for the sole purpose of preventing the Muslim army invading Europe and destroying Christianity as they did in the Byzantine Empire. The Turks had nearly three times more troops. The winds were against the Christians and the conditions were poor. But after the rosary recitals by the soldiers ended, the winds aided the Christians who gained a colossal victory against the Turks. This was one of the greatest naval upsets in history from which the Turks never fully recovered and their threat in the Mediterranean Sea ended. Following this victory, Pope Pius V established the Feast of Our Lady of Victories on October 7th. The name was later changed to its present form – the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. The purpose was to thank God for the victory of Christians over the Turks at Lepanto—a victory attributed to the praying of the rosary. Pope Clement XI extended the feast to the universal Church in 1716 and it is celebrated on the 7th of October, observing October as the month of the rosary.

During the recitation of the Rosary, we meditate on the saving mysteries of our Lord’s life and the faithful witness of our Blessed Mother. Journeying through the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries of the Rosary, we bring to mind our Lord’s Incarnation, His public ministry, His passion and death, and His Resurrection from the dead. Hence, by praying the Rosary, we come to live out the Paschal Mystery in our lives, thereby becoming authentic disciples of Jesus, people who really follow in his footsteps, dying with him so as to rise with him. We also ask for the prayers of our Blessed Mother, the exemplar of faith, who leads all believers to her Son. Hence, we as modern-day Catholic Christians need to pray the Rosary and live the Rosary.

In the ninth century, the Christian monks who recited the 150 psalms instructed the illiterate common people to recite the “Our Father” 150 times using beads. These strings of beads became known as Paternosters, the Latin for “Our Father.” It was in the eleventh century that the Europeans added “Hail Mary” to “Our Father.” According to legend, in 1214, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Dominic Guzman and instructed him to pray with the bead-string in a new form as an effective antidote against the Albigensian heresy.  At least a dozen Popes have mentioned St. Dominic’s connection with the Rosary in various Papal pronouncements, sanctioning his role as at least a “pious belief.” Historians agree that St. Dominic preached its use to convert sinners and those who had strayed from the Faith. The Rosary devotion had attained its present form and gotten its name the Rosarium (“rose garden”), by AD 1500. An additional boost to the Rosary devotion was given in 1917, on the thirteenth of May, when our Blessed Mother, in her sixth apparition to the three children at Fatima, demanded, “Say the Rosary every day…  Pray, pray a lot and offer sacrifices for sinners…  I’m Our Lady of the Rosary.” She advised them to say the Rosary rightly, daily and devoutly for a holier life and world peace.  The “Fatima prayer” “O, my Jesus” was added in the twentieth century. Pope John Paul II enriched the Rosary by adding the “Luminous Mysteries” in 2002. 

Bishop Fulton J.  Sheen called the Rosary the perfect prayer because in addition to engaging the mind and the spirit, our fingers touch the beads and we are engaged in a physical way also. During this month of rosary, also every day of the year, let’s be faithful in saying the Rosary, because its power is unimaginable. Remember to come 30 minutes earlier for the weekend masses this month and become part of our parish rosary recitation a community one and gain spiritual graces from God through Mary.