For this week…

“What were you arguing about on the way?”
But they remained silent. They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest.
Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
Taking a child he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it he said to them,
Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the one who sent me.”
(Mark 9)
 What did Jesus want to emphasize here as “greatness”? Is it the ability to be a Star like Usain Bolt, to be wise like Aristotle, or to be like Mahatma Gandhi?
As I was reflecting about this, I remembered an article which I read few years ago. Catherine was a Sri Lankan woman who worked in Dubai for over 25 years. She worked in one house as a house maid. She was the one who looked after all four kids in the family since their childhood. She was a single woman, but she had her family in Sri Lanka. After all these years she went back to Sri Lanka because of her age and health condition. After few years, she died in her house. This news was heard by those children in Dubai. Actually some of them were married and all of them were busy with their work. But amazingly these four children came to Sri Lanka to attend the funeral of this woman, who became a mother to them. They also carried the coffin of this woman to the cemetery.
As Mother Theresa once said, “Humility is the mother of all virtues. It is in being humble that our love becomes real, devoted and ardent.” So, let us stop being proud of what we are. Let us stop exaggerating about our possessions, our abilities, instead let us use them for the good of others. Accept our own strengths and weaknesses as they are, and let us stop putting others down, instead admire them for what they do.
Usain Bolt became the greatest runner in the world, Mahatma Gandhi became the father of nonviolence. They became great with their abilities and talents. We may not be able to become a great like Usain bolt, Mahatma Gandhi but we can become great through our humility. Like the woman and children in the story. Do whatever you do with a passion, love everyone, be humble and we can become a great person in our simple way of life. The more you be humble, the more you become great.
Bro. Tharindu Nuwan C.Ss.R  is a Second Year theology student who shared this reflection on this Sunday’s Gospel.
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Never again!

Candle Lighting and Noise Barrage activity in commemoration of Martial law

Air

 

You are the breath of life. Air, you are the spirit breathed in to us at creation. You are LIFE itself. Thank you AIR. Your gentle breeze reminds us of God’s gentle presence in our lives. You dry our sweat and allow us to get refreshed when stricken by the scorching summer heat. Thank you AIR. However, we have to strike our breast in sincere apology for the pollution we have created in you. We burn our rubbish. Our smoke belching rides pain your heart. Global warming breaks your heart but it is not your doing. We are just reaping the fruits of our abuses in your goodness. Again, we are SORRY AIR. Lord, help us make AIR fresh again. 

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Credits: Jeffry Lozano ,Sumeth Sumeda &  Unsplash.com

letter for seminarians

It’s not by chance but by providence that God has called you into formation at this exact time and not another. Because of this, you can trust that He will give you the grace to do what we need you to do and be who we need you to be. 
Rise up to the challenge. Work with the One who is forming you into men capable of being the priest-saints that will bring Christ into countless broken lives desperate for His love. Pray with all you’ve got. Study with all that’s in you. Learn to serve. Learn how to take care of yourself, physically and spiritually. Build friendships that support and strengthen rather than enable and cover up. Let God use the seminary to form you into the saints we need for these troubled times. 
And in the midst of it all, know that we love you, that we’re praying for you, and that the God who calls you to a great and noble vocation will carry you every step of the way in living it out, if you let Him.
 Taken from a letter from a priest from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe

Water

You quench our thirst, you cleanse our souls at baptism. With you, life continues. You allow Mother Earth to bear fruits in abundance. Thank you WATER. WE the reason for which you express your wrath over the destruction we do to Mother Earth when we cut her trees due to our greed. You come to us through tsunami and flood because of your sympathy with Mother Earth who groans with pain when her forests are denuded. WATER, sorry for polluting you. We think that your rivers are the best carriers of our rubbish to the vast ocean where they seem to disappear with your roaring waves not knowing that we poison the world underwater; the marine life. Again, we say SORRY. Father help us to restore and preserve the cleanliness of the water you have given us.

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Credits: Jeffry Lozano ,Sumeth Sumeda &  Unsplash.com

Why is God important in tough time?

My first response to this question is also a question: Why do you consider God important only in tough time?  Who is God for you that you consider him important only in tough times?

          There are two points that I will discuss here.  First, on who God is as revealed to us in the Sacred Scriptures.  The Hebrew Bible (or commonly known as the Old Testament; it is also referred to as the First Testament) gives us different portrayals of God, for example, he is the creator (Genesis 1-2), one who seeks sinners (Genesis 3:8-13) and through the prophet calls them back to him (Hosea 6:1-2).  God is a warrior who fights against the enemies of his chosen people Israel (Exodus 14:27-310.  He has power over nature (Exodus 7:14-11:6 and 1 Kings 18) and provides food and gives life (1 Kings 17).  He is also like a mother who lovingly cares for her children (Isaiah 49:15; Hosea 11:1-4).  These are but a few instances we can cite in the Hebrew Bible.

          In the New Testament, our Lord Jesus Christ invites us to call God our father (Matthew 6:9//Luke 11:2), who provides for our needs (Matthew 6:25-32).  He is the Good Shepherd who seeks out the lost, that is, the sinners, and rejoices when he finds them (Matthew 18:12-14//Luke 15:1-7).  These are just a few of the many other stories in the gospels.  To know more, may I invite you to discover for yourself by reading the Bible yourself.

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          The second point is to look at ourselves as God’s special creation, created in his image and likeness.  To be God’s image is both a privilege and a responsibility.  To be “created in the image and likeness of God” does not mean we are equal to God.  Rather it means that God gives us the faculties and powers of thinking and willing.  We are called to the responsible use of this gift according to the ways of God.  We are given the responsibility to exercise stewardship over all creatures. 

          The second creation account (Genesis 2:4b-25) narrates that man was created out of the earth.  This is symbolic of man’s fragile nature.  The Lord God breathed into man and man became a living being.  This means that the Lord God is the source of life and our life depends on him.  Without the Lord God, we are nothing.

          From the above insights, is God important only in tough times?  We need the Lord God both in good as well as in tough times. Yes, we need him most when we are in tough times, when life seems to be meaningless and without direction.  In these tough times, the Lord God will show us the way, the truth and lead us to life everlasting.

 

Sr. Meriam OSB is the current Dean of Studies in Saint Alphonsus Thelogical and  Mission Institute in Davao City

For this week….

Who do you say that I am? Peter realizes that he is the son of God. He is the Christ. Jesus deliberately set out to make sure that the disciples saw him as God’s messiah and not man’s Messiah. He had to make sure they understood God’s way of salvation. So Jesus did not want them to remain only with the glory instead he wanted them to know that suffering is part of the glory. Cross is needed to have the victory. How do I see Jesus in my life? And what is my identity?

Is Jesus a living experience for me, walking with me, loving me, forgiving me, helping me and transforming my life?. What difference does Jesus make in my life? Have I really given my life to him? Are there areas where I have excluded Him, where my life is not noticeably different from the lives of those who see Jesus as irrelevant? Is the joy, the love, the peace that we find in Jesus reflected in the way we live our lives?

This reflection is shared by Fr. Christopher Prathap Stanley C.Ss.R, the Socius of our RFC community

photo credit: unsplash.com

Hiring Brave men!

“Recently, a Jesuit told me of his father who is a retired firefighter in the United States. During the aftermath of the attacks in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, many people were saying: “We need heroes!” In response, his father told this young Jesuit that we need simple, ordinary firefighters. In the face of difficult times or disasters, when everyone else runs away, firefighters run into burning buildings to save others. Today, we need brave missionaries who will run into burning buildings, knowing that their efforts may not save the building, but knowing also that we must try and give it our all.”

Taken from the letter of our Superior General Fr.Michael Brehl, C.Ss.R. sent on the feast of Holy Cross

 

Earth

We call you Mother because you nurture us with your produce. You fill us with your grains, you nourish us with your fruits. From you were formed and to you we shall return. Mother Earth, you are too good to have cradled us in your bosom. Saying THANK YOU is not enough to express our gratitude. However this gratitude not shown in our actions because we throw our garbage anywhere; we spite on you anytime we like. We have tampered your pristine beauty o dear Mother Earth. For all these abuses, we say, WE ARE VERY SORRY. May this apology be shown in our actions by restoring your original beauty and cleanliness.  Lord, help us restore the beauty of mother earth.

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Credits: Jeffry Lozano ,Sumeth Sumeda &  Unsplash.com