Prayer is the Answer

Posted: October 10, 2017 in homilies

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time Aa

We, as a society, are being harassed with grave threats of danger and violence. We are allUnknownaware of what happened in Las Vegas last week, how one senseless act of a person destroyed many lives and future. We also hear about terrorism wrecking havoc in other parts of the world, people killing people. What is happening in our society today? Are we and our loved ones safe?

Amidst these chaotic events, we hear St. Paul in our second reading today telling us: “Have no anxiety at all.” “Have no fear!” If he could have experienced these events today, would he still write this passage to us? Would he still remind us: “Fear not! Believe in God!” The answer is yes and probably even with greater emphasis and urgency for all of us.

I am not sure how we can fully attain peace in our world today but somehow we have to accept the fact what the Lord tells us today: fear is useless in our lives. We have to trust Him on this even if all the things that are happening around us look desperate and painful. How can we do it? St. Paul tells us that it is through prayer and petition to God. He does not say that the reasons for our anxieties and fears will be gone forever, but that we can face and overcome them through prayer and positive attitude. This is important because anxiety, fear and negativity push us further into ourselves, further into our own safety net, often making us more likely to lash out, to be frustrated towards others, becoming distrustful of them especially those who don’t look, think and believe like us. So we truly need the peace, the trust, the prayer and support of each other and yes, I have to say this: we truly need God in our lives especially in moments like these.

Let us not let these unfortunate events and a few bad people stop us from embracing what God represents to us: what is true, honorable and just. These human values are inherent values for all of us. Let us live them up. Let us be examples and be beacon of hope and goodness in our society. Let us defeat evil with good deeds. Let us lift up whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious in our lives– that in everything, may we learn to pray and offer our petitions and thanksgiving to the Lord. So my core message for you today is this: Pray! Prayer is an amazing thing. It is a powerful tool. It lifts us up. It gives us peace. It gives us hope. Prayer assures us that we are never alone – that we have each other; that we have a God who loves and cares for us no matter what.

To end my homily, I would like to share to you a video. This video has no conversations just written statements by high school students from the Archdiocese of Hartford. This is their response to a Senator’s remark: “Where is God in all the tragedies in the world?” Let us now watch and reflect on the message of this video.

The End of Prayer Shaming

(My dear brothers and sisters, I would like to invite to bow your heads and offer a moment of silence for all the people affected by terrorism and violence in our society. We pray to the Lord.)

 

Advertisements

Listen to Him!

Posted: August 27, 2017 in homilies

Feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus A

 “I don’t know what to do. I am confused. I don’t know who to listen to anymore.” I think thmost of us, if not all of us have heard these words said by someone or by ourselves in one way or another in our life. In our world today that is full of noises, distractions and conflicting voices, we are being pulled to different directions where we can easily get confused and lost along the way. Things used to be very different not so long time ago, right? But now, no matter how seemingly outrageous a behavior is, someone will defend it in public, rationalize it and even glorify it. Hence, the confusion it brings to all of us most especially to our youth and children is a challenge we need to overcome. To whom should we listen to then? The voice from heaven today answers that question for us – Jesus Christ our Lord!

Last week, I had the privilege to join our young people to Steubenville NW Youth Convention at Spokane, WA. Around 2500 young people came to attend together with their adult chaperones, Youth Ministers and a few of us priests. I got to hang out with our youth, sing and dance with them even. We also prayed and worship together there. It was an amazing experience for me except of course the time when someone took my bath soap in the shower room. Yes, someone took the priest’s bath soap. Imagine that. So with the rest of the boys who stayed with Mike Dominguez and me in the dorm, I’m still waiting for the one of you to come to confession.

Kidding aside, I can say that the church is so much alive there and has a bright future with the faith, enthusiasm and involvement of the kids in that convention. They were like Peter, James and John in the gospel when they first started. What they thought as an ordinary hike in the mountainside with Jesus ended as one of the most memorable events in their lives. On that convention, they were transfigured. Yes, they came with their own share of questions, concerns, hurts, doubts and frustrations about God, the Church teachings and what’s happening in their relationships, family and world around them. But despite these, I can see a lot of hunger and thirst from them to experience God in their lives. How much they long to be touched and lifted up by the God who saved them. In their encounter with God there, they were touched, lifted up, forgiven, loved, inspired, and yes, transformed.

This transformation can be felt in the spiritual atmosphere there. Try to imagine what the three disciples saw when Jesus was transfigured before them – his face dazzling white. These seemed to be the faces of the kids there. It was a mountaintop experience for them – a High Moment. And just like Peter desired, most if not all would like to stay on that mountain forever but the life that we live is not like that. It must go on. They have to go down the mountaintop. They now have to live up and proclaim in the world the ONE they have experienced there – Jesus Christ, Our Lord. They have to be Christ’s witnesses, his face, his hands and feet in the world that is full of temptations and challenges, with many voices pulling them from different directions. And so Jesus’ command for them today is all the more urgent, pressing and essential: “Listen to Him!”

However, this command does not just apply to our youth but to all of us because we too experience our own share of temptations and challenges in our lives. We also hear those differing voices. We also get distracted and fall. And so, more than ever, all of us must also truly listen to Him.

Only by listening to His words and living His commandments can we reach our full potential as a child of God and win that happiness that God has prepared for us – happiness that is forever. Without the teachings of Jesus, we couldn’t have known that the love of God and our neighbours is what sustains and strengthens us a child of God. Without Jesus’ words, we couldn’t have known that we should forgive those who hurt us if we want to be forgiven ourselves of our sins. Without the words of Jesus, we couldn’t have thought that helping the less fortunate also means helping Jesus himself. By our own efforts and merits, we cannot really fathom the depth and height of God’s love for us but if we listen to our Lord’s teachings, there will be more clarity, peace and fulfilment in our lives that comes from it.

Jesus promised that his Spirit would give his Church an understanding of his teaching, saying whoever listens to you listens to me.  Let us then open our hearts and minds to his teachings – teachings that we read on the sacred scriptures, the teachings that are handed down to us through our Church, the teachings that the great saints of our faith exemplified and proclaimed, the teachings that all of us must follow and lived. The voice of God speaks through these teachings and for that we must truly listen to Him. Amen.

It’s in our hands…

Posted: August 16, 2017 in homilies

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time Aa

When I was still a seminarian in the Philippines, as part of our formation, we were 15388131993_c3be7f0629_oassigned to the far-flung barrios or towns for our summer apostolate or mission. We usually spend a month with the local people there, living with them, eating what they eat, joining them in their daily activities, and of course praying with them and teaching catechisms. As I told you before, the main source of livelihood there is farming and summertime is harvest time for them. So this is one of the best and the happiest time of the year for them. I remember going with them on the field to harvest “palay” or rice stalks. Everyone was excited as we go. To harvest, we were given a sickle or a curb blade to cut the stalks. Others bring the cut rice stalks to a machine that separates the rice from the stems. Everyone has a job to do. It was hard work. Your back would hurt just by your all day bending to cut the rice stalks. It was itchy too because of the rice little hairy stalks. Despite of these, they were still full of spirit, singing together, laughing and telling jokes as they work. It was hard work but fun. It was then that I understood why the farmer’s happiness is beyond measure when the harvest season arrives. They were happy because they were finally reaping the rewards of their backbreaking work on the soil for so many months. They can now enjoy the fruit of their labor, the work of their hands.
Today, we hear in our gospel about the Parable of the Sower and the Seed. I told you my experience so that we can know what it takes for a farmer to plant, grow and harvest his crops and also what it brings when he can finally enjoy the work of his hands – great happiness. This I hope will give us a better understanding of the parable that we just heard. One of the common interpretations of this parable is that, Christ is the sower; the seed is the saving word of Christ and the four types of soil represents us or our hearts, the ground on which the seed of Christ’s message is sown. It clearly gives us the message that the quality of the soil on which the seed lands affects the quality of the harvest – in other words, the quality of our hearts on which the word of God rests affects the quality of our Christian life as we live according to the word of Jesus Christ.
As I reflect more about the gospel and I thought to myself, if Jesus is the sower, why would he let some of the seeds fall on bad soil? He is God, surely he knows how to sow and surely he can cultivate the soil so that the seed will grow and yield an abundant harvest. Why would He throw seed on the path, on the rocky or the thorny ground? Can’t he just carefully and directly sow the seed in good soil from the very start? But then we are reminded that God’s ways is not our ways. We cannot question God’s generosity. He sows seeds in every part of our life. He even provides good seeds to the most unlikely of places – even to the path, rocky and thorny grounds. In the gospel, He sows the same seeds in all four soils. There is no ground undeserving of the sower’s seeds. Yes, there is no one undeserving of God’s love and mercy. Christ makes this clear in answering the question of the Pharisees on why he eats and drinks with the tax collectors and sinners: “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but the sinners.”
And so Jesus Christ gives the word of life to everyone. That was his mission, to bring salvation to all, the righteous and sinners alike. But now, we have to ask ourselves: “If we are the soil, the ground on which the seeds of Christ’s message fall upon, what kind of harvest have we been yielding for Him?”
Clearly, God is looking for a harvest—a bountiful harvest. But then this is what’s interesting about it – it is up to us to make that bountiful harvest happen. God wants us to be good soils, those who hear the truth, receive the truth, and act according to the truth. But because of our freedom of choice, he doesn’t want to force us; he instead gives us the freedom to decide to do His will and obey his commands.

To end, I’d like to tell you a story of two pre-teen brothers who were arguing about the wisdom of their Dad. “Father is very wise,” said the first brother. The second brother disagreed. “Dad is not so wise! We’re just as smart as he is. I’ll prove it to you.” The next day the second brother went into the woods near his home and captured a small bird. He brought the bird home and said to his brother, “Let’s go find dad. I will show you that he isn’t so smart.” The two brothers went into their father’s study, the second one holding the small bird between his cupped hands. “Dad, I have a question for you,” he said. “I hold a small bird in my hands. Tell me, is this bird dead or alive?” If he said that the bird was dead, the boy would simply open his hands and show that the bird was alive. If his father answered that the bird was alive, he would crush it between his hands and reveal that the bird was dead. This would prove that his dad wasn’t so wise after all. The boys’ father considered the question for a moment and said, “My son…the answer is in your hands.”

In his wisdom, God created us with free will. He has sown the seeds in our hearts so that we can have a meaningful, bountiful, and happy life. But it’s up to us to nurture these seeds in good soil, and to keep that soil rich and conducive for growth. It’s up to us to choose each day to follow Christ’s voice in our hearts, not the sighs of our laziness nor the seductions of the world around us.

Will our lives be meaningful, fruitful, and happy?

The answer is in our hands.

God’s Yoke

Posted: August 16, 2017 in homilies

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time Aa

I just had this conversation with someone recently. She mentioned that her daughter is imagesexperiencing some serious medical challenges. The question she asked was this, “Why is it that someone has to suffer more than others?” I find this question a very difficult question to answer. I think I told her that God doesn’t give us a cross that we cannot carry. That is true but I asked myself, “Would this answer suffice for a mother hurting seeing her daughter suffer?” Would these words be enough to bring comfort and consolation to someone who is undergoing a difficult challenge in his or her life?

I asked these questions because when I was in a middle of difficulty myself, I have had a few people who told me that it’s going to be all right. But I thought then, “Really? I hope it’s true but I don’t see and feel that way right now. I wonder if they are still going to say those same words if they are in a middle of difficulty themselves.” But then I saw some of them sticking around with me, being there, personally caring and sympathizing on what I’m undergoing. I realized right then that having people around us who personally supports and prays for us, could make our problems even the heaviest ones lighter to bear and handle.

It is in this spirit that Jesus comes to us today: “Come to me all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest. These words of Jesus are such a great relief and encouragement for us. Every one of us has a problem, difficulty or burden that we face. Some lighter than others. Others are heavier than some. And so, to hear these words of Jesus bring us a greater inspiration and hope that despite everything that we maybe experiencing in our life right now, Jesus will always be there to help us. But more than just hearing these encouraging words of Jesus, he assures us: “take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” This means that Jesus personally shares in our burdens. He carries them with us. He just not tells us it’s going to be ok. He is right there with us grinding, pulling, sacrificing, sweating, persisting and inspiring to carry on and overcome our problems and difficulties. His illustration of the yoke is just perfect for this. I grew up in the countryside in the Philippines. We built our house then in front of rice fields. So I saw the farmers till their field. They used farm animals especially water buffaloes or carabaos to do the work. They put a yoke, which is a wooden beam over the shoulder of the animal and then let it plow the field. Most often they put two animals together to make things easier. Think of Jesus and you working together this way – Jesus and you yoked together, side by side, hand and hand. Where you go, he goes along with you, pulling together with you and making it all the more easier for you to carry on. What an inspiring sight to behold right?

This illustration shows us that Jesus did not promise us a life without burdens or weariness. On the other hand, what He offers is a way of overcoming them. His is not an easy way out of problems but rather a liberating way into solutions. This is the wisdom that is hidden from the intelligent and the wise, but which is obvious to children. Trust as children trust, Jesus says. Let your loving parent take your hand. Rest on your mother’s arms; be carried on your father’s shoulders. Have confidence in your heavenly Father’s loving care. Live your life, confident that all your needs are noticed, respected, provided. Underneath are the everlasting arms that constantly invite us for rest, an everlasting promise that He will always be there for us no matter what.

As we heard the message of Jesus today to come to him and receive the rest he alone can give. Let us remember that it is a call to a personal relationship. Just like the words of encouragement of my friends who was there for me made a lot of difference and impact during my difficult time, it is so because they care for me. Our God cares and loves us to the end. In coming to the person of Jesus we discover that far from being burdened, we are fully loved and cared for. Let me end with this story of a small boy appearing out of the snow storm carrying a little boy on his back. When a compassionate person saw him. He told him: “that is a heavy load for you to be carrying.” To which the boy replied, “He is not really heavy sir, he is my brother.” In a similar way Jesus has carried the burden of ours for we are his brothers; we are his sisters. So let us listen to His words today: “Come to me all you who labor and are burdened, I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart. And you will find rest for yourselves, for my yoke is easy, my burden light.” Amen.

About Hospitality

Posted: July 3, 2017 in homilies

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time A

Our gospel today tells us about two things: one about carrying our crosses and second, images-1about hospitality. With this time of the year, the summer and of course, the 4th of July weekend, carrying the cross and hospitality can be the same thing for some people. Let me expound. I just talk to one Dad and he told me that they are going to visit his in-laws. I said, “Oh how exciting! I hope that you’ll have a blast!” The Dad said, “Yap, it’s going to be fun!” “Oh, don’t worry about it! The feeling I believe is mutual!” See how hospitality and sacrifice come along together.

Kidding aside, our gospel today highlights for us the importance of hospitality in our Christian lives. To welcome another in Jesus’ name is to extend hospitality to Jesus himself. Hospitality is an expression of Christian charity. It is an act of generosity we render to people that radiates the very love of God to others especially to those who visit our community and our homes. To be hospitable is obviously not an easy thing. It demands a lot of our time, convenience, financial resources and even at times, patience… sacrifice…. I remember growing up in the Philippines when friends, relatives and even strangers come to visit our home and they have to stay for a night or even days, I have to let go of my room and sleep with my brothers and sisters because we don’t have an extra guest room. We were even tasked to clean the house to make sure that it’s presentable. We have to help prepare everything: food, physical arrangements and many more. We have to sacrifice our playing time for it and plus, our Mom and Dad would tell us, behave because we have visitors! So we were the best kids they ever have during that time. In the Philippines we do have some superstitious beliefs with regard to visitors. If a fork drops accidentally to the floor when we are eating, a male visitor is coming; if a spoon, it’s going to be a female visitor. Or if someone sings in front of the stove while cooking, a visitor is coming soon. So every time I experienced these situations, I become nervous because I and my siblings would need once again to be in our most behaved personality. As I look back into this, I don’t think that these superstitions are true but somehow they manifest the premium my family and the Filipino culture put for hospitality. But I think this is not just my family or the Filipino culture alone but most if not all cultures put high premium to hospitality. We say to our visitors here in the US, “Make yourself at Home!” – to be able to treat our visitors just like family members is a great sign of our high regards for them. You are probably familiar to the Hispanic saying, “Mi Casa es su Casa” – my house is your house.” It is to make sure that visitors are truly at home in their company. For Middle Eastern cultures, they consider guests as “God’s blessings” and are said to create a happier and healthier environment in one’s home. Indeed, hospitality is very important for every culture and religion. How we treat people who have come to our care, to our home, to our community is very important to us. It reflects who we are as a people or as a community or even as a country. This probably comes from the Golden Rule: “Do unto others what you would want others to do unto you.” Or perhaps it is just our great human instinct and nature to give due importance and regard to people especially the strangers and those who are in need. I don’t know the exact scientific or the sociological reason as to why hospitality is so high in the values of every culture and religion. But one thing for sure that we can get from our gospel today: “Whoever receives you, receives me, and whoever receives me, receives the one who sent me.” We put high importance to people especially strangers and visitors because God is present in each and every one of us. God is with us especially to the strangers and those in need. “Whatever little things you have done for the least brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it to me.” We are the face of Christ others and we are also His hands and feet in the world. People experience and learn so much about God not because they have figured out the Trinity or the teachings of Church. People experience and learn about God from Godlike people – people like you and me, though imperfect, strive to be perfect in the eyes of God. These are the people who pick up their crosses everyday and do their best to follow Jesus; people who have been trying to be good examples for others in their words and in actions; people who have welcomed others just like their own in their homes and communities, people who have showed them hospitality and kindness in the way they embrace them whoever they are and wherever they come from; people who forgive them of their failings and who encourage them and even challenge them how to become better persons in their lives. Indeed, all of us can be God to someone – someone who will remember what God is like because they remember what we are like – that we are followers of Christ, hospitable, kind, loving, caring, forgiving, and understanding to them and to all people that we meet…. Amen.

Father’s Son

Posted: June 18, 2017 in homilies

Solemnity of Corpus Christi Aa

Why are we here? What makes you come to church today?

imagesAny volunteer who wants to share? Cite the examples.

Some of you might answer that you have come here to worship Our Lord and offer Him our praise and adoration. Some likely have come to church to seek comfort and  peace in God’s presence. Probably some of us have come here to experience fellowship and belonging in our community. Or perhaps we have come for the simplest reason – to fulfill our Sunday obligations.

Whatever our reasons are, we are here because Christ wanted us to be here. Come to think about it, Jesus really wants us here. I remember one time during mass seeing a new face in the congregation. I approached him and ask him if he was visiting or not. He said that he was from the neighborhood. He was just passing by and saw that there is mass happening so he came in. He said that he grew up Catholic but he hasn’t practice since graduating in high school. He said that it was nice to attend mass once again. I told him that it was good to meet him and I hope to see him again. He said he would try to come. I haven’t seen him regularly but I did see him once in a while. I’m telling you this because I believe that it is not just coincidence that he passed by that day while we are having mass. God led him here. There is always this constant and ever-present invitation for us from Jesus to be connected with Him. God is actively and persistently knocking in our hearts. That is fundamental. God wants us to have a relationship with Him. He wants us to feel His love and mercy. He wants us to be part of His one Body, the Church. And He wants us to be nourished and sustained by His Body and Blood. This is the reason why we are celebrating the Solemnity of Corpus Christi today. This longing of Jesus to be part of our lives leads us to celebrate the Solemnity of Christ’s Body and Blood.

This celebration proclaims to us three important professions of faith about God’s presence in our lives. First, that God became physically present to us through the person of Christ. Second, that God continues to be present in His people in the form of Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church. And lastly, that He is present to us in the form of the consecrated bread and wine offered at the altar during mass.

Let us reflect on these three professions and see what is their significance in our lives. The first profession brings us to the very foundation of our faith – Jesus, the Emmanuel, the God-is-with-us. He tells us that He is indeed present in us, with us and for us. This is the greatest gift that we ever received as a human being – God through Christ, became human like us. I remember every time I go and visit the places where my Father has previously worked as a school supervisor in our province in the Philippines. They often asked me “Are you the son of Roger?” I was amazed every time this happens. I answer back. “Yes, How could you tell?” “Well, you looked like him. You got his facial features, your mannerisms and even how you stand or move?” “Is that so?” “Do I have to be proud of it?” I asked. “Of course! You’re Dad is the best person we know especially when he is asleep!” Kidding aside, I can say based on their observation that I am my Father’s son. He is present in me just as they can recognize me through their relationship with my Dad before. This is also the same with God, our Father. We recognize Him through our personal experience of Jesus, His son, in our life. He made us in His own image and likeness and given us a dignity befitting as his sons and daughters. This is a great privilege if we reflect more about it. There is no other creature in all universe created in the image and likeness of God except us. There is no other creature in the world that God took on to become like us in all things except sin. There is no other creature on earth that God wanted to have a personal relationship with except us. What a privilege, right?

The second profession pronounces the Church as the mystical body of Christ. It is through the Church that Christ gives us the opportunity to be united with him and with one another in the faith. Indeed, “we relate to Christ through His Risen Body, which is the whole community bearing his name. For this reason, there is no place in our Church for individualism or ‘just me’ attitude. Our faith is never all about me and my personal relationship with my God. Our faith is also a horizontal faith: we go to God with and through those around us.” We all belong to Christ. We are all in this together. This is why St. Paul in our second reading today asked the community to share the meal together because Jesus, himself, shared the bread and wine with his disciples. Through Christ’s sharing we become one with him, so also in our sharing and communion with one another, we become united with Christ.

The third profession pronounces to us that Christ is truly present in the species of the consecrated bread and wine. This is Jesus’ real presence in the Eucharist. He is present in the consecrated bread and wine not symbolically but actually. This means that every time we celebrate the Eucharist we don’t need to hope that God will be present. He is really present in the Eucharist. His presence does not depend on our mood, feelings, or even holiness. He offers himself to us as our spiritual food so that we can be nourished and uplifted in our relationship with Him. This profession challenges us that if we are to eat his flesh and drink his blood, we need to incorporate into our lives all that he teaches, all that he visions, all that he values, and all that he preaches about the meaning and purpose of life. By receiving his body and blood, we unite ourselves to Christ’s way of thinking and living. For this reason, when we receive Christ in our lives, we need to actively live up His mission and witness His gospel in whatever we do and say in our lives.

Having known these three professions, it is good to remember that we celebrate them not only during the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ but every time we celebrate the Eucharist as a community. Every time we have mass, we celebrate God’s presence in Christ and make Him present in the consecrated bread and wine and in us, the Church, who receives His Body and Blood. And so, whatever our reasons are in attending mass, whether it is as simple as just fulfilling our Sunday obligation or as deep as having that great relationship with Christ, every time we celebrate the Eucharist, we are in for a great privilege; we are in for a great blessing. Christ wants to be present in our lives. He wants to have a personal relationship with us. He wants us to accept Him with all our hearts and minds. And so, let’s us wholeheartedly do them for He has said to us – “Do this in memory of me.” Amen.

Holy Spirit, Come!

Posted: June 7, 2017 in homilies

Pentecost Aa

This Pentecost Sunday, we are going to hear some testimonials from those who just thfinished their RCIA journey here in our parish this year. Their RCIA journey is a concrete testimony for us on how the Holy Spirit is truly at work in our lives.

Personal Sharing….

(Express gratitude and cite comments on what was shared.)

The testimonies we have heard manifest what our second reading today tells us, “No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.” And so no one also can accept the faith and say yes to the Lord without the Holy Spirit working in their life. It could be just that little voice that tells you after so many years, “It is time.” Or it could be that person you respect very well who inspired you to say, “I wanted to be like her.” It maybe the community that makes you feel welcomed and loved that you thought, “I wanted to be part of it.” Whatever it is, it is the Holy Spirit at work in your life. Your decision does not just happen by chance. You didn’t just hear the call and you immediately said yes. You didn’t just feel moved and you instantly believed. God works in us and through us in various ways. He makes use of people, things, events and even personal challenges in our lives to draw us closer to Him. He transforms us and changes our lives. He does this through the Holy Spirit, the agent of transformation and change in our lives. He is the one who can make a difference in our lives, create a change and activate us to become the best person that we can be.

We have heard Jesus assuring his disciples before he ascended to heaven, that He would not leave them orphans. He would send them the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, the agent who was going to activate them, give them the power to fulfill their purpose to preach the Good news to all the ends of the earth. Before the Holy Spirit came, the disciples were afraid and fearful but when the Holy Spirit descended upon them, they became confident in proclaiming the mighty deeds of our Lord.

In our own lives we try to look for ways to satisfy our spiritual needs and become the best person we can be. Yes, we try our best, notwithstanding our shortcomings and limitations, to live our lives according to his will. But despite of our great desire and our best efforts, we still falter and fall short. This must not stop us from doing our best though. This must not hinder us to continue on. We must not fear nor be confined by it. We must understand and believe that God sent us the Holy Spirit to strengthen us, to give us power, to direct us, to teach us and to fulfill all our spiritual longings and needs. Yes, we cannot do it alone. But the Holy Spirit is always there to help us and make our lives dynamic in every aspect of it.

For this reason, let us remember, “It doesn’t matter what decision we take or what choices we make in our lives, whether it is as important as something or as simple as anything, if without the Holy Spirit, all our efforts and ventures will be incomplete and for nothing. No matter how well planned it is, it would still fail in the end just like any other vast human enterprise.” History is our witness, the Roman Empire flourished for a long time with its human and military might but in the end fell down. The Church whose birthday we are celebrating today, came from a ragtag group of fishermen but with the help of the Holy Spirit, continue to flourish through out the ages, through thick and thin, because where human instrumentality leaves off, “a blessed ally takes off, a blessed ally takes over, it is the Holy Spirit that leads, it is the Holy Spirit that inspires, it is the Holy Spirit that reveals, it is the Holy Spirit that administers, it is the Holy Spirit that transforms.” And so in this solemnity of Pentecost, let us offer our lives to the Holy Spirit, with all our dreams and desires, with all our joys and sorrows, with all our strengths and limitations, let us let Him lead us. So to the Holy Spirit we pray:

“O Holy Spirit of light and love, you are the substantial love of the Father and the Son; hear our prayer. Abundant bestower of most precious gifts, grant us a strong and living faith which makes us accept all revealed truths and shape our conduct in accord with them. Give us a most confident hope in all divine promises which prompts us to abandon ourselves unreservedly to you and your guidance. Infuse into us a love of perfect goodwill, and act according to God’s least desires. Make us love not only our friends but our enemies as well, in imitation of Jesus Christ who through you offered himself on the Cross for all people. Holy Spirit, animate, inspire, and guide us, and help us to be always a true follower of you. Amen.”