Let Your Lamp Shine


Luke 8: 16-18
Prov. 3: 27-34/ Ps 15: 2-5

No one who lights a lamp conceals it within a vessel or sets it under a bed. Rather, he puts it on a lamp stand, so that those who enter may see the light.
(Luke 8:16)


Lord, may our lamps dispel the darkness,
Drive away evil where it thrives,
Live a life of truth and holiness,
And let Your Word shine in our lives.

“No one who lights a lamp conceals it within a vessel, or sets it under a bed. Rather, he puts it on a lamp stand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, nor is anything secret that will not become known and come to light. Take care, then, how you listen. To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.” (Luke 8:16-18)

Reflection

Some of us are lamps that need to be lighted in order to spread God’s brightness and dispel the darkness of evil. This is just another allegory that our Lord uses in order to enlighten His disciples, similar to His earlier parable of the sower, where some of us must be like fertile soil so that the seed of God’s Word can produce a hundredfold. In the same way, the brighter our lamp, the more people we can lead to Christ.

We are beacons of light whenever we join the cause of proclaiming and fighting for the truth. As God’s lamps, we have have always believed that “nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, nor is anything secret that will not become known and come to light.” Our Brotherhood’s advocacy for honesty has made inroads into the darkness of corruption in a number of government agencies as well as in the business sector. Many BCBP billboards and streamers in the country’s urban centers declare our stand: “Be Honest even if others are not, even if others will not, even if others cannot.”

Jesus’ message is clear: “To anyone who has, more will be given; and from the one who has not (shared), even what he seems to have will be taken away” (from him). Unless we fight for honesty and truth, letting the Gospel values shine in our life, we will lose even the veneer of integrity that we appear to possess. Only those who strive to follow His way, spread His truth, and live His life will continue to grow spiritually, gaining more of God’s gifts and graces. Jesus is telling us that we cannot afford to hide our lamp in a vessel, or put it under a bed. In other words, we should not refuse or delay an offer from our breakfast head or mission director to declare God’s miracle in our life by giving our life testimony in our BCBP breakfast, just as we cannot accept bribe money to give a false testimony in court. The light of God must shine in our life at every opportunity.

Lord, fill our hearts and minds with Your light and truth, and disperse the darkness of sin and deception so that we may see the way to You clearly, and discern Your will in our lives. May we radiate your light and truth to others in word and in deed. Amen.

Good Soil for the Good Seed


Luke 8: 4-15
1 Cor 15: 35-37. 42-49/ Ps 56: 10c-12. 13-14

Some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew, it produced fruit a hundredfold.
(Luke 8:8)


Your Gospel, Lord, is our delight,
Inspire us that Your Word be told;
Dispel the darkness, be our light,
Make us bear fruit a hundredfold.

When a large crowd gathered with people coming to Jesus from town after town, He told this parable: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and was trampled, and the birds ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” When He said this, He called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” His disciples asked Him what this parable meant. He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, ‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.’ This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but they fall away in time of trial. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they fail to produce mature fruit. But as for the seed that fell on good soil, they stand for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, embrace it, and bear fruit through perseverance.” (Luke 8:4-15)

Reflection

Our Lord’s parable of the sower is a lesson about hearing the Word of God, and being able to understand and live its message. It is clear in this parable that only a few would be transformed by the Gospel for the following reasons: 1) Many are not really interested. His message falls on deaf ears. Like the case of the Jews, they just wanted to see the wonders He was performing, but they were not too keen in trying to understand His words. 2) Those who do hear and are moved by the Word of God want to learn more, but when other matters come up, especially their finances or livelihood, their attention is diverted and they leave. Their ground of interest is too thin to support any roots of commitment. 3) Then there are those who hear the Word and are interested, and decide to stay on, but they do not bear fruit because they still hold on to their worldly concerns (and vices), and so their faith lacks the nourishment from the Holy Spirit that only the truly devoted can receive.

Only the seed that fell on good soil yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown. But the seed was fruitful not because of one’s eloquence or knowledge of the Scriptures, but because of the power of the Word itself. The writer of Hebrews said it clearly: “The Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12) We have learned that all it needs is to keep an open mind and an open heart, and God’s message will flow in.

Lord, as Your servant St. Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16) Help us to do our best to give a more personal perspective of Your Gospel messages, so that others who hear or read Your Word may also come to believe. Amen.

Our Sisters in Mission

Luke 8: 1-3
1 Cor 15: 12-20 / Ps 17:1, 6-8, 15

These women were helping to support them out of their own resources.
(Luke 8:3)

In our mission work we must not
Prevent them if they wish to come,
Our sister wives take on a lot
Of work in building God’s kingdom.

After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

Reflection

Today’s brief Gospel account of Luke reveals volumes about the ministry of Jesus. First, Luke seems to emphasize the urgency of Jesus in travelling from one town and village to another, almost without rest. We read in the earlier account of Luke that when the disciples urged Jesus to return to the sick people who were waiting for Him, He responded: “I must preach the Good News of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is the reason why I was sent” (Lk. 4:43). Proclaiming the Good News was more important to Him than healing the sick and expelling evil spirits. Luke also qualified that aside from the twelve apostles who accompanied our Lord, there were also a lot of women with Him, most of whom perhaps owed Him a debt of gratitude for their healing, but more likely because they had also come to believe in Him as the Savior of Israel, the Messiah. Finally, Luke tells us here that the women not only accompanied Jesus, but also gave support to Him and His apostles out of their own means. These were the very women who fearlessly accompanied Jesus to Calvary, and stood by Him at the cross. Some of them were also the first to discover His empty tomb.

Luke’s Gospel for today may be telling us that our sisters in the ministry are our vital partners in evangelization. We should not worry if our brotherhood is being over-whelmed by sisters, for their ancestors have shown the important roles that women have played in the course of our Church history. When our chapter opened an outreach in South Cotabato, the brothers hardly worried about where the money would be coming from, or who would take charge of the meals and snacks, or who would be handling the secretariat of the Christian Life Programs. In these matters, the sisters were in charge, and we could only wonder what would have happened to our mission had our women not come along.

We thank You, Father God for the example of our Mother Mary, and all other saints like the Magdalene, St. Therese, and Mother Teresa, who have shown us that there is no distinction between men and women, because we are all Your children. Amen.

Of Love and Forgiveness

Luke 7:36-50
1 Cor 15: 1-11 / Ps 118: 1-2, 16-17, 28

…her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.
(Luke 7: 47)

Our sins are debts we cannot pay
Until we learn how to forgive;
His Word today shows us the way:
As we’ve received, so we must give.

One of the Pharisees invited Jesus to dinner, so He went to his house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man is a prophet, He would know who is touching Him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” Jesus spoke to Simon, ”I have some-thing to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. “Two men owed money to a certain money-lender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. Then He turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7: 36-50)

Reflection

Reading through this dramatic episode of St. Luke’s Gospel, we can glean once again the stark contrasts between the sinner and the self-righteous, and obviously where our Lord’s favor rested. Simon, a prominent Pharisee hosted a banquet in his home. A woman of ill repute dared to intrude into the dinner uninvited. Rather than object to the intrusion, the Pharisee’s main preoccupation was how Jesus would react to this sinner “fussing” over Him. Simon’s thoughts revealed his judgmental attitude: “IF this man is a prophet, He would know who is touching Him and what kind of a woman she is — that she is a sinner.” He had judged the wisdom of Jesus, and the morality of the woman. The woman, on the other hand, had no such misgivings about Jesus. She braved the gathering’s scorn and rejection to show her love for the Master, full of faith in His forgiveness. While Simon’s eyebrows were raised with cynicism, the woman was kneeling at the feet of Jesus in all humility, kissing His feet, and shedding tears of penitence.

It was her great sense of gratitude, manifested in her tears shed and kisses given that endeared her to Jesus. In the case of Simon the Pharisee, none were offered or given, not even a basin of water to wash Jesus’ feet, or even a kiss to show that He was welcomed. Those who are self-righteous believe that they have no sins to ask forgiveness for, and are therefore lacking in gratitude. As a consequence, they are unable to express genuine love to God. So let us praise and thank God every moment of our lives, for He has forgiven us all our sins to the point of sacrificing His only Son in Calvary.

Dear God, You have revealed to us in today’s Gospel the importance of seeking Your forgiveness and being grateful for our salvation. These we acknowledge in the teachings of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, Whose example we desire to follow. Amen.

Be Childlike, Not Childish


Luke 7: 31-35
1 Cor 12:31 -–13: 13 /Ps 33:2-5,12, 22

…wisdom is proved right by all her children.
(Luke 7: 35)


To be like a child once again,
Is to be like Jesus in His ways,
And this can only happen when
We have chosen to live by God’s grace.

(Jesus said), “To what, then, shall I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children who sit in the marketplace and call to one another: ‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance; we sang a dirge, but you did not weep.’ For John the Baptist came neither eating food nor drinking wine, and you said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by all her children.” (Luke 7: 31-35)

Reflection

Jesus was referring to the religious leaders of the Jews, particularly the scribes and the Pharisees, who were being childish in their unreasonable criticisms against Him and John the Baptist. They were behaving like spoiled children who tell their playmates, “You can’t join OUR games because you don’t follow OUR rules.” They did not want to accept the New Covenant that Jesus and John the Baptist were teaching, because they did not want to lose their control over the Jewish people. The Good News was a threat to their exalted position. Their blind obstinacy, prejudice, and hard-heartedness marked their spiritual immaturity.

Jesus said, “Unless your turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt.18:3). God wants us to be childlike in our faith, but not to be childish in our ways. There is a great difference between being childlike and behaving immaturely. Children are beloved of God because of their trusting curiosity and adaptability to change. It is a childlike quality to follow and obey, and in the process to learn. Because of their innocence, they trust those in authority, and are easy to teach. This is not the case with the childish. They are usually the spoiled brats who always get what they want because they throw a tantrum if they are disappointed. They do not act their age because they refuse to grow up. In today’s first reading, (1Cor.13:1-13), St. Paul describes the perfect way of loving others like a child: trusting, perfect, and undefiled.

In many renewal communities, you will find leaders and members who possess childlike qualities, but you can’t miss their childish counterparts as well. While the former give of themselves unselfishly for love of service to God and community, the latter cling to their selfish attitudes, and their vested interests get in the way of cooperation and unity. Like the stubborn Jewish leaders in Jesus’ time, the childish ones in the group only make their world become smaller, and stunt the growth of love and wisdom in their hearts because they refuse to accept the changes that are happening around them. They are forever griping and critical about “new things” that they are not familiar with, or do not conform to their “tested ways”. Like spoiled brats, they tend to complain to or blame their elders or superiors, instead of submitting to authority, and taking on the responsibilities given to them.

Christ is our Model to follow if we are to grow from being childish to childlike in our ways. All of His qualities are plain to see in the Scriptures: humble, forgiving, compassionate, kind, unassuming, transparent, understanding, respectful, patient, trusting and truthful.

Teach us, Lord, through the influence of the Holy Spirit, and by constant meditation on Your Word how we can be more childlike in dealing with situations and other people. For we are still childish in many way. Help us to live by Your grace, so that we can truly become Your children. Amen.

The Widow at Nain


Luke 7: 11-17
1 Cor 12: 12-14, 27-31a / Ps 100: 1- 5

When the Lord saw her, His heart went out to her and He said, “Don’t cry.”
(Luke 7:13)


Moved with pity for a mother’s pain
Jesus raised her dead son at Nain;
In His mercy what we’re praying for,
Through His Mother He’ll surely restore.

Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and His disciples and a large crowd went along with Him. As He approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, He was moved with pity for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then He went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country. (Luke 7: 11-17)

Reflection

It would not be too far-fetched to suppose that Jesus identified the grieving widow with His own mother, Mary, who at that time was already a widow, and whom He knew would also be undergoing the same tormenting grief over His own death on the cross, which was forthcoming. This was why He was so moved with pity for the widow, that even without being asked, He raised the young man back to life and gave him back to his mother.

This compassionate act, however, was also predictive of our Lord’s own resurrection. Two more times after this He would raise the dead back to life – Jairus’ daughter, and Jesus’ own friend Lazarus – if only to emphasize His power and victory over death.

One of the older members of our community was widowed when her husband of almost fifty years succumbed to a massive heart attack. We could see the confusion and pain clouding her face, not knowing what the future held in store. Her children are all established with their own families in far off cities, and she could not leave the comfort of her home and the community that she had come to love to live with any of them. Thank God she has a loving community here in Davao that has helped her cope, and diminished the pain of her loss and loneliness by the prayers of its members as well as their comforting presence and support. The sudden loss of a loved one can be so traumatic that without the support and sympathy of true friends the bereaved can lose her enthusiasm for life. Let us pray for all our widows, that God’s consoling grace may fill the void left by the passing away of their life partners.

Lord Jesus, like the compassion that You showed to the widow at Nain, let Your healing power touch the lives of our sisters who are widowed, that they may fully recover from the loss of their husbands, and serve You in our community as avidly as before. Amen.