Saturday, January 12, 2013

women: teachers of peace

“Authentic peace is only possible if the dignity of the human person is promoted at every level of society, and every individual is given the chance to live in accordance with his dignity.  To teach people this truth is one of the most fruitful and lasting ways to affirm the value of peace.”

How far from relate this truth is today!  In many areas in our world, war, bloodshed and injustices are the common fare of the people.  In our midst, bank robberies, murder and rape cases scream in the headlines.  In our home infidelity, abandonment, cruelty and violence persists.  Reaching intolerable proportions, the pope in his message is calling all to renew their commitment to work for peace!


Going against the prevailing custom of choosing biblical phrases to mark the papal insignia, John Paul II chose “Totus tuus” (I am completely yours, O Mary), a Marian supplication, as the motto of  his papacy.  And it is not just a motto that marks his insignia as pope. It has become as it were a credo that permeates the teachings and pastoral activities of the pope, giving his papacy a distinctive Marian character.  His encyclicals and letters almost always have a reference to Mary and always ends with an invocation to the Mother of God.  For the pope this deep Marian devotion “not only addresses a need of the heart, a sentimental inclination, but that it corresponds to the objective truth about the Mother of God . . . the new Eve, placed by God in close relation to Christ.”(Be not Afraid) Thus in every reflection and in every activity the Pope turns to her with admiration and respect.  And when John Paul II reflected on the dignity and vocation of women (Mulieris Dignitatem) he once more turned his glance on this woman of the gospel which “all generations will call blessed”.

Why Mary?

Reflections on the Rites of Holy Week

Passion Sunday or Palm Sunday
The Rite

Passion Sunday or what we commonly call Domingo de Ramos is the sixth Sunday of Lent and ushers in the Holy Week.  It is called Passion Sunday because it is devoted to the contemplation of the passion of Christ.  This liturgy however is the most difficult in the Church calendar because of the opposite emotions it depicts in rapid succession.

The celebration starts outside the church commemorating the triumphal entry of Jesus.  It is a joyful ritual.  Palm branches are waved high in the air to welcome the messiah, and the atmosphere is full of jubilant hosannas which means “save your people.”  The atmosphere is mob like almost close to a riot (that is if we discard the Roman formality so typical in our liturgies).


This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Pentecost commemorating the great event when “on the day of Pentecost they were all in one place together . . .and what appeared to them tongues as of fire came to rest on them . . . and they were filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2. 1-4)

Originally, Pentecost was a Jewish feast (and still is) commemorating the time when the Law of Sinai written in tablets of stone was given to Moses in the desert 50 days after the first Passover meal in Egypt.  This is celebrated with pilgrimages and festivities in the temple for it is through this handing down of the Law that Israel realized its new identity as the people of God, “a people peculiarly his own."  It is by this Law that the covenant between God and man was established with its observance as man’s part of the promise.

Friday, January 11, 2013

liturgical renewal in jaro


Whenever the church gears itself for reformation, the first to be worked out for reform and the first to be affected by reform, is its life of prayer or the Liturgy.  There are two reasons for this and both are connected with each other.  First, it is because the Liturgy of the Church being the most familiar activity of the faithful and the activity where Christian life revolves, is the summation of all the official teachings and relevant theological reflections of the present, and the first to actualize it in its life.  How we view ourselves as church, how we view the hierarchy in relation to the laity in the church, how we regard the world as a church, find its first expression in the Liturgy.  Thus, if the church sees itself as the Church of the Poor, then the first part to be affected and the first to actualize such concept is the Liturgy.

ordination to the priesthood 2

I read last week a letter in the Inquirer written by a prayer group  from UP Los BaƱos in reaction to an article entitled  “Is it Good for Priest to be alone?” What touched me in the letter of this prayer group was their realization of “the importance of the laity’s continually building and sustaining a rampart of prayer and sacrifice for the priesthood, ordained by Jesus Christ and beloved by him.” 

ordination to the priesthood

Ordinations are nothing new to me.  Besides being ordained, I have been serving in the rites, which happens every year and sometimes several times in a year, ever since I was invested with the soutana ten years ago.  By now I consider serving in them as routine rendering every gesture, almost every word and every part of the rite familiar and almost second nature.  Familiarity however has its own disadvantage.  It could render the rites empty of meaning, where gesture remain as gestures and words remain mere words - all done in an effort to fulfill what was required flawlessly and rather quickly.  Even in my own ordination I found it hard to focus myself and imbibe the significance of the occasion as I got distracted from servers who seemed unfamiliar with what they were doing.