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Mk 14:12-16, 22-26 – The Lord’s Supper

Posted in Feast/Solemnities, Sunday Gospels by Erineus on June 13, 2009

Mk 14:12-16, 22-26 – The Lord’s Supper
Solemnity of Body and Blood of Christ
Sunday Gospel Reflection

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Corpus Christi. “Corpus Christi” are two Latin words for “Body of Christ.”  This great feast is in honor of the Real Presence of the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of Jesus Christ in the Eucharistic species of bread and wine.

St. Bonaventure reminds us of its meritorious effect when we celebrate and explicitly confess our belief on the Eucharist: “There is no difficulty about Christ’s presence in the Eucharist as in a sign, but that He is truly present in the Eucharist as He is in heaven, this is most difficult. Therefore to believe this is especially meritorious.”[ 7. In. IV Sent. Dist. X. P. I Art. Un. Qu. I, Oper. Omn. Tom. IV Ad Claras Acquas 1889, p. 217]

As we celebrate this Solemnity of the Corpus Christi we are reminded of the following:

First, the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday and Holy Days of Obligations. This is the first of the precepts of the Church in which every Catholic ought to fulfill to the least to be considered practicing Christian. The first precept (“You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation”) requires the faithful to participate in the Eucharistic celebration when the Christian community gathers on the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord” (Cf. CIC, cann. 1246-1248; CCEO, can. 881 par.1, par. 2, and 4).

In the Philippines the holy days of obligations are: Christmas Day (December 25), Motherhood of Mary (January 1), and Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (December 8).

Essentially connected to this obligation is our active, full and conscious participation in the celebration of Eucharist. When we are absent-minded or our focus is disintegrated our participation is questionable. When we do not know what we say and what we do during the mass our participation is not conscious. When we do not participate in all the responses and community singing during Mass our participation is not active and full.  When we go to the Church for reasons other than to take part in the celebration of the Mass then our motivation and participation are questionable.

Second, to receive the sacred body and blood of Jesus Christ every time we attend Mass or at least once a year especially during Easter. This is also one of the precepts of the Church. “The Mass is a sacred banquet of communion with the Lord’s body and blood. And it is because of this that even the Eucharistic sacrifice is wholly directed toward intimate union of the faithful with Christ through communion. To receive communion is to receive Christ himself who has offered himself for us” (see cf. CCC 1382).

During the consecration where the bread and wine are transformed  into the body and blood of Jesus Christ, he invites and urges us to receive him in the sacrament of the Eucharist.  “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you ( see Jn 6:53). “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him (Jn 6:57).

In the Eucharist “is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself our Pasch and the living bread which gives life to men through his flesh – that flesh which is given life and gives life through the Holy Spirit. Thus men are invited and led to offer themselves, their works and all creation with Christ …” (Presbyterorum ordinis, n. 5). For the bread of life to sustain life, it must be sought, approached, taken, broken, and eaten. Likewise Jesus must be invited into our lives if we are to enjoy the well being he brings.

Third, to receive worthily the sacred body and blood of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. St. Paul St. Paul urge us to examine our conscience before coming to confession to avoid the sin of sacrilege: ”Whoever, therefore, eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the body and blood of the Lord. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself” (1 Cor 11:27-29).

To respond to this invitation we must prepare ourselves by receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion when conscious of grave sin (cf. CCC 1385) by observing the fast required in the Church (cf. CIC, can. 919) and by bodily demeanor (gestures, clothing) that convey the respect, solemnity and joy of this moment when Christ becomes our guest.

Before so great a sacrament, let us echo humbly and with ardent faith the words of the Centurion:” Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed” (cf. Mt 8:8). And pray, that through Christ, the Mediator, we may be drawn day by day into ever more perfect union with God and with each other so that finally God may be all in all” (see cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 48).

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Lk 24:35-48 – Sunday Gospel Reflection

Posted in Easter, Feast/Solemnities, Gospel of Luke by Erineus on April 26, 2009

Lk 24:35-48 – The Appearance to the Disciples in Jerusalem
Third Sunday of Easter
Sunday Gospel Reflection

The Church in her Catechism teaches: “The resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of the Christian faith in Christ, a faith believed and lived as the central truth by the First Christian community; handed as fundamental by Tradition; established by the document of the New Testament; and preached as an essential part of the Paschal mystery along with cross” (cf. CCC 638).

Simply explained, the resurrection of Jesus is so central to our Christian faith because if Christ did not rise from the death our faith is worthless, our teachings and preaching are useless (see 1 Cor 15:17). The resurrection of Jesus is also so central to the salvation we strive, hope and pray for because we are saved not only when we confess with our lips that Jesus is Lord but also when we believe in our hearts that Jesus who suffered and died on the Cross rose on the third day (see Rm 10:9). If Christ did not rise from the dead, then, salvation is not possible. Lastly the resurrection of Jesus is also so central to the building up, spreading of and the continuation of the Church established by Christ here on earth. If Christ did not rise from the dead there would be no more disciples left now. There would be no more Church now.

The resurrection of Jesus is so relevant and meaningful to our Christian faith, salvation and the building up, spreading of and the continuation of the Church but there are theories which had been made attempting to show that the resurrection of Jesus was a fraud or a  myth concocted by the disciples many years later.

One among them is the spiritual resurrection theory. This is the view that Christ’s resurrection was not a real physical resurrection. Proponents of this theory assert that Christ’s body remained in the grave and His real resurrection was spiritual in nature. It was only told this way to illustrate the truth of spiritual resurrection, that is, that Jesus resurrected only in the hearts and minds of the believers by virtue of faith.

How do we refute this? It is clearly wrong to assert that the dead body of Jesus remained in the tomb and like any other dead human body underwent the natural process of decomposition. Considering the biblical account, the physical body of Jesus did disappear from the tomb. If you still remember the first visit of Mary Magdalene early in the morning of Sunday, she only found an empty tomb. She though that somebody has stolen the body of Jesus.

When this was reported to Peter and John they immediately came to see the tomb of Jesus. They found the empty tomb and the undisturbed linen wrappings that covered the body of Jesus and also the soudavrion, the piece of cloth that had covered Jesus’ head, not lying with the other wrappings, but rolled up in one place by itself. But they never found the body of Jesus.

Basically the issue concerns the positioning of the graveclothes as seen by Peter and the other disciple when they entered the tomb. Some have sought to prove that when the disciples saw the graveclothes they were arranged just as they were when around the body, so that when the resurrection took place the resurrected body of Jesus passed through them without rearranging or disturbing them. In this case the reference to the soudavrion being rolled up does not refer to its being folded, but collapsed in the shape it had when wrapped around the head.

All that the condition of the graveclothes indicated was that the body of Jesus had not been stolen by thieves. Anyone who had come to remove the body (whether the authorities or anyone else) would not have bothered to unwrap it before carrying it off. And even if one could imagine that they had (perhaps in search of valuables such as rings or jewelry still worn by the corpse) they would certainly not have bothered to take time to roll up the facecloth and leave the other wrappings in an orderly fashion!

After Peter went ahead and entered the tomb, the Beloved Disciple, who had arrived there first, also entered. When he saw the graveclothes in the condition described in the previous verse, he saw and believed. What was it that the Beloved Disciple believed (since v. 7 describes what he saw)? the Evangelist intends us to understand that when the Beloved Disciple entered the tomb after Peter and saw the state of the graveclothes, he believed in the resurrection, i.e., that Jesus had risen from the dead.

If it was only a spiritual resurrection, then, what happened to the body? Did anyone discover and get custody of any of the remains of Jesus? History shows there was a body there and it disappeared. No one was able to produce the body nor disprove the resurrection.

By itself, the tradition of the “empty tomb” does not prove anything. But when linked to the Risen Christ’s appearances, it is confirmatory of the resurrection (cf. CCC 640). Indeed, the personal appearances of Christ following His resurrection are another overwhelming historical proof. The women and the disciples saw, heard, and even touched the Lord. In fact, 500 brethren saw him at one time (1 Cor. 15:6). Furthermore, the risen Lord even ate with them for two times as reported by the Gospel.

Today’s gospel narrative is about the appearance of Jesus to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. The two disciples who were on their way to Emmaus came from Jerusalem where Jesus was arrested, imprisoned, punished, crucified and died on the cross. There were filled with sorrow, pain, fear, despair and disillusionment over the death of Jesus whom they considered to be the promised Messiah who set them free from the dominion and oppression of the Roman Empire. It was at this moment of crisis when Jesus suddenly appeared and joined them as they journey towards Emmaus.

As they were on their way to Emmaus, Jesus explained to them that everything that had happened (passion, death and resurrection of Jesus)  in the life of Jesus is a fulfillment of biblical prophecies and in accordance with the Scriptures. Whey they reached the place, they invited Jesus to stay with them because it is nearly evening and the day is almost over. So Jesus went in to stay with them. There and then while he was with them at the table he took bread, broke it, and it gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.

The disciples hearts were burning inside when Jesus spoke to them on the road and their  eyes were only fully opened and recognized the Lord during the breaking of the bread. It was during the breaking of the bread that the disciples’ sadness, fear, despair and slowness of understanding are transformed into joyful, fearless and enthusiastic recommitment to  the person, life, works and mission of Jesus. Indeed, the Risen Christ is present and recognized  when the Scriptures is proclaimed , when the bread is broken.

The journey of the two disciples towards Emmaus is, at first, a journey of sorrow, pain, fear and despair. But when they recognized Jesus, the Risen Lord, through the breaking of word and the breaking of the bread the journey towards Emmaus is a journey of encountering, discovering and welcoming the risen Lord into their hearts in faith. It becomes a journey from sorrow to joy, from fear to courage, from ignorance to faith, from despair to hope.

Jesus had been with his disciples all the way, and they did not recognize Him. Isn’t this our life too. We fail to recognize how close the Lord is to us all the time. Maybe we don’t even recognize him in the breaking of the Bread, the Eucharist and in the breaking of the Word. Maybe we don’t even recognize him in the person of the priest and in the people around us especially the poor, the needy and the suffering. Maybe we don’t even recognize him in the Bread that we eat during communion and the Blessed Sacrament inside the Tabernacle.

Every time we celebrate the Eucharistic sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ which he entrusted to the Church to perpetuate his saving sacrifice on the cross and in order to apply the fruit of redemption to all men and women of all ages and of all nations, let us ask God to open our eyes so that we may be able to acknowledge him in the person of the priest, in the words being proclaimed, in the Eucharistic bread and wine especially during the elevation of the body and blood of Christ, communion, holy hour and Eucharistic adoration, and lastly, in our neighbor especially in the poor, the needy and the suffering.

Then let us also exert all our efforts to make our Eucharistic celebration active, conscious and full in order to make it meaningful and fruitful to the extent that we will be nourished, strengthened and empowered by the words of God and the Eucharist which is a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity,  a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet ‘in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us” (SC 47).

Getting high on Dinagyang

Posted in Celebrations, DOT, Feast/Solemnities, Tourism by Erineus on February 16, 2009

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Iloilo City With its slogan On Higher Ground, this year’s Dinagyang Festival ended on a happy note. Local and foreign tourists who flocked to this western part of the Visayas are still “feeling high” from the various activities held in celebration of the feast of Sto. Niño. Ilonggos, too, enjoyed the fanfare including GMA’s free show dubbed as Dinagyang Kapuso Night that drew an enormous crowd at the Freedom Grandstand.

Local artists like Pinoy Idol finalist and true-blue Ilongga Sue Ellen, Istayl Naton! hosts Angelia Ong, John Arceo, Mamo Monyika and Dino Vasquez entertained the crowd with song numbers and antics that added glee to the night.

Back stage, Sue Ellen relates that she has now fully recovered from the heavy blow that struck her and her family. She considers the flood waters and fire incidents — that left them homeless months ago — as part of “those trying times.”

“Since the lot is not originally ours, we decided to rent an apartment instead,” says Sue, who returned to Iloilo and continues her studies at Central Philippine University taking up Education after her Pinoy Idol stint.

“Life is much easier here but I still perform in Manila once in a while. I did a show with Ogie Alcasid (and Ramiele Malubay) last month,” she continues. “And of course, I sing on occasion like this as a Kapuso. But more often, I sing here with the church ministry. I really enjoy singing.” So does the crowd who applauded her energetic number Please Don’t Stop the Music.

Various games made every Kapuso’s spirit soar high. And as the night grew livelier, rain started to fall heavily, yet it was not enough to spoil the evening fun and excitement.

All — young and old — stood still, seemingly unmindful of any health problem the rain may bring. They shrieked in excitement, stomped their feet with joy and clapped their hands the hardest when Luna Mystika stars Heart Evangelista and Mark Anthony Fernandez appeared and performed one after the other on the makeshift wooden stage.

“This happens rarely (to see celebrities in person) so we might as well enjoy the moment even if it’s raining,” an Ilonggo fan says.

Mark, while singing Nandito Ako under a wide umbrella, gave away shirts to the jampacked crowd.

Ayos ba kayo diyan?,” he asked with concern. The audience, in turn, responded with delight.

It was Mark’s third time to join Dinagyang. This time, Mark thanked everyone for the warm welcome and invited the audience to continue supporting Kapuso shows especially Luna Mystika where he plays Dexter, the love interest of Heart’s Celestina.

Heart, on the other hand, was touched to see Ilonggos soaking wet all throughout the show. She greeted them pleasantly and belted out a song accompanied by a band. The heavy downpour also didn’t stop her from going up on stage even if she has just recovered from sickness. Heart, too, at one point, tried to keep the umbrella away to interact well with the crowd but failed because she might be electrocuted from the microphone she was holding.

“I’m so happy to be here. Thank you for all the support and please don’t fail to watch Luna Mystika,” Heart says.

As the Kapuso Night ended, happiness vividly reflected on everybody’s faces. The Ilonggos’ warm welcome, in turn, conveyed a feeling as intense as the pounding of the drums we often hear come Dinagyang time.

View previous articles from this author.

By Bot Glorioso
Updated January 30, 2009 12:00 AM
http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=435834&publicationSubCategoryId=206

Dinagyang: A dance offering

Posted in Celebrations, Feast/Solemnities, Tourism by Erineus on February 16, 2009

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Tribo Molave exhibits their heartfelt devotion to Señor Sto. Niño as they perform before a crowd of thousands.

For Ilonggos participating in the annual Dinagyang Festival, it’s not just another day of street dancing. The long-held tradition is an opportunity to show their devotion.

The economic pinch nearly prevented many tribes from taking part in the festivities this year. But they could not just abandon what their fathers and grandfathers had been doing for decades.

This year, Smart Communications Inc. helped three tribes to continue the tradition. The leading wireless services company sponsored the Atub-Atub, Molave, and Pana-ad, the leading groups in last year’s festival.

Smart also sponsored the Kasadyahan Festival and the staging of concerts like the Kapamilya Caravan at the Freedom Grandstand and Rock ‘Til u Drop at the Boardwalk Leisure Area.

“It’s hard to finance a group of street dancers for Dinagyang, especially in these tough times,” says Jaimer Canlas, operation manager of Tribo Molave. 

Finding the time to rehearse alone can be quite challenging, as each member has to eke out a living. Most members are out-of-school youth, tricycle drivers, pier porters, and blue-collar workers.

They persevere, however, because being in the tribe is not only an outlet for creative expression but also an opportunity to spend time in prayer and devotion.

This year, their dance is also a form of thanksgiving, as the province of Iloilo has recovered from the devastation caused by typhoon “Frank” in July last year. The Ilonggos are smiling once again, the streets full of gaiety and hope.

This year’s performances reflect the Filipino’s indomitable spirit, says Joaquin Santiago Jr., operation manager of Tribo Atub-Atub. Their theme is “helping each other after the disaster of the storm.” The idea is to show how Ilonggos move on from kalisod (sadness) to kalipay (happiness).

Tribo Molave worked around the theme of harvest. “After the storm, the land yields the harvest for the people; in our performance’s case, the ati,” Canlas says.

Consistent winners, the three tribes nonetheless remain true to the real meaning of their dance offering.

“This year, we focused on our devotion, not on the competition, so win or lose, we are happy just expressing our gratitude to Señor Sto. Niño,” Santiago says. Tribo Atub-Atub took home a special award, Best in Discipline.

And it’s no competition, really. The tribe members are friends, with the same purpose — to keep their heritage and culture alive. It is this that makes their street dancing truly meaningful.

Updated February 08, 2009 12:00 AM
http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=438315&publicationSubCategoryId=206

Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and World Day of the Sick

Posted in Feast/Solemnities by Erineus on February 11, 2009

WE celebrate today the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. It was on February 11, 1858, that the Blessed Mother first appeared to a 14-year-old girl named Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes, France.

It was a week before Ash Wednesday when the mother of Bernadette noticed that they had run out of firewood in the house. Bernadette and her sister Toinette volunteered to go and pick up branches at the riverside. At first, the mother expressed her disapproval because of the bad weather. Jeane Abadie, their neighbor, offered to go with the two children and the mother consented. They decided to go southward to Merlasse.

When they reached the end of the Monsieur de la Fittes field, nearly opposite the grotto of Massabieille, her companions left Bernadette behind because she was reluctant to cross the cold river due to her constant poor health. Soon afterwards, she heard a rustling noise and caught sight of a beautiful lady in a hollow of the Massabieille rock. Bernadette fell to her knees and prayed the Rosary. The lady identified herself as the “Immaculate Conception’’ and requested that a church be built on that site. The apparition was followed by 17 more until July 16, 1858.

It was on February 25 that the young Bernadette was told by the lady to scratch at the ground. The lady then asked her to drink and wash in a spring that came up. In a matter of days, the spring began to be the source of many miraculous occurrences.

The water still flows today, and continues to be a source of God’s healing through the Blessed Mother’s intercession for many people. This is why Pope John Paul II pronounced that February 11, the day the Blessed Mother first appeared to Bernadette in 1858, be specially designated as the World Day of the Sick. The apparition was finally approved by the Church in 1862 and a church in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary was dedicated in 1901. The grotto of Lourdes in France is now one of the most visited pilgrim sites in the whole world.

In the Litany of Loreto, one of the titles attributed to the Blessed Mother is “Health of the Sick.’’ It is not Mary who heals the sick. It is her Son Jesus Christ who brings about healing to many people. Mary just allows herself to be used as an instrument of God’s grace of healing.

On this feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of Lourdes, may we receive the healing grace of God through her. Moreover, like Mary, let us allow God to use us as his instruments of healing to all those in need of this grace. Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!

Related Homily/Reflection: