31 ene. 2009

Best poem Written by an african kid


When I born, I black
When I grow up, I black
When I go in Sun, I black
When I scared, I black
When I sick, I black
And when I die, I still black

And you white fellow
When you born, you pink
When you grow up, you white
When you go in sun, you red
When you cold, you blue
When you scared, you yellow
When you sick, you green
And when you die, you gray

...And you calling me colored?

REFLEXION Evangelio Semanal


Un gesto vale mas que mil palabras
(Luis José Tamayo)

Recogemos de estos anteriores domingos: El Bautismo del Señor es el fundamento de la llamada de Dios a la vida cristiana, recordamos esas palabras: “Tú eres mi hijo amado”. Luego Jesús nos llama a seguirle desde el Evangelio de Juan: “Ven y sígueme!”. El Domingo pasado veíamos el seguimiento desde la vida de S. Pablo, la vida cristiana se fundamenta en la debilidad y la misericordia de Dios: “Mi gracia te basta, en tu debilidad muestro mi fuerza”.

Hoy Jesús entra en la vida pública, en la vida ordinaria, y vemos y aprendemos de cómo vivía.
Seguir a Jesús, la vida cristiana no es sólo la práctica de ritos, una filosofía, un conjunto de creencias, o varios documentos a saber. La vida cristiana es una persona; es seguir, convivir, relacionarse, dialogar, apoyarse, etc. en la persona de Jesús para teniéndola muy de cerca poder vivir como vivió Él.

Mi forma de vivir, mis costumbres, o muchos de mis hábitos no los he adquirido de Jesús, sino de la familia, del entorno, de los medios de comunicación, de la TV... Por ejemplo: juzgar al otro o criticar… pensar de forma negativa, sacar defectos… El miércoles iba caminando por el Pº de Extremadura y pasando por una tienda sale una madre con su hija de 5 añitos, sale gritándola y la llamó delate de todo el mundo “imbécil”. Cuantas veces oyes palabras de falta de respeto entre los miembros de la misma familia: “a que te parto la cara; déjame en paz; eres un incordio; subnormal!”. estos son los gestos que se aprenden en series de TV como “Escenas de matrimonio”. Pero de la forma que se tratan es de una gran falta de respeto. Yo ya he decidido no verlo. Estos no son los gestos de Jesús, si los niños le increpan, cuando unos les dice que se alejen, Él les dice: dejad que los niños se acerquen a mí. 

Ahora estamos en lo que la Iglesia llama el “tiempo ordinario”, es decir, estamos invitados a aprender como vivía Jesús en su vida ordinaria, en el día a día. Y lo que hoy nos dice el Evangelio es que la gente se asombraba porque no enseñaba como los otros, sino que enseñaba con autoridad. Más adelante dice: “ese enseñar con autoridad es nuevo”.

Hay un dicho que dice: “un gesto vale más que 1,000 palabras”. La gente quedaba sorprendida con Jesús pues lo que llamaba la atención, lo que entendían que transmitía autoridad era que su vida iba por delante junto con sus palabras. No les daba un discurso retórico lleno de palabras bellas… sino que hablaba con la vida, desde la vida. La autoridad te la da la vida.

El otro día estaba comiendo con una familia y antes de empezar a comer me piden que bendiga la mesa, y el hijo adolescente dice: “Tenemos que hacer oración? Que rollo!”, la madre le contestó: “pues sí… hay que acostumbrarse a hacer oración”. Pero luego sabes que esa familia no va a misa. Esas palabras no tienen autoridad, pues no van acompañadas del gesto. Sin embargo hay otra experiencia que he vivido de ver a una mama pasar todas las tardes a visitar el santísimo 15 minutos después de recoger a su hija del colegio. La mama de rodillas y la niña pequeña jugando a su alrededor. ¿Qué impacto le causará a esa niña el que un día la madre le diga que Dios es importante para su vida? Verla de rodillas todas las tardes delante del santísimo, un gesto que vale más que 1,000 palabras.

La autoridad no viene de ser perfecto y no cometer fallo alguno. Sino que la autoridad viene de la humildad. No es que uno no cometa fallos, sino que la autoridad viene cuando uno los comete pide perdón. No es que uno se enfrente en una discusión a ver quien tiene más razón, sino cuando uno sabe callarse a tiempo. No es ver quien es más fuerte, orgullo contra orgullo, sino cuando uno sabe ceder; o cuando uno sabe defender sus derechos por que es justo. No es que uno no caiga en faltas, sino que la autoridad viene de ese volver a intentar ser mejor cada día. Como el otro día una persona me dio algo que yo sabía que era falso, pero mi respeto hacia esa persona vino no por que uno no diga alguna mentira, que a veces se nos escapa, sino por que un día después se acercó a pedir perdón y reconocer su error. Esa persona merece todo mi respeto, pues tiene humildad suficiente para decir la verdad.

Volviendo al caso anterior, ¿cómo uno puede ganar la autoridad del joven que se encuentra distante de comprender como los adultos viven la fe? No imponiéndoles hacer las cosas como las hacemos los mayores sino invitándoles a con creatividad que ellos expresen su fe de su manera y nosotros con humildad a reconocer que tenemos que escucharles. Un amigo mío, me contaba que el abuelo exigente les decía a sus nietos que la bendición hay que hacerla como siempre con un rezo. Entonces el papa pidió la palabra y le dijo a su hijo: ¿Y tú como bendecirías los alimentos? Entonces el niño dijo de forma espontánea, algo que salga del corazón… y el papá le brindó la oportunidad: y el niño cerró los ojos, tomó la mano de los de al lado y empezó a dar gracias por su familia, por los amigos, por todo y al final se olvidó mencionar los alimentos… jajaja! Pero fue un momento muy entrañable donde los jóvenes se encuentran escuchados. Esa persona me habla de una persona que escucha, que no se impone, que respeta a los menores aunque sus formas no sean las tradicionales.

Pidámosle a Jesús la gracia de poner nuestros ojos fijos en Él y aprender a vivir como Él vivió, para que nuestras palabras acompañen nuestros gestos.

REFLECTION Sunday´s Gospel



The Word of Jesus drives out 
unclean spirits 
(Fr. James McTavish FMVD)

In today’s gospel we find Jesus teaching in the synagogue. His teaching “made a deep impression” on the listeners. Why? “Because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority.” Jesus taught with authority and conviction. When Jesus spoke that day in the synagogue he was challenged by an unclean spirit “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?” But Jesus said sharply “Be quiet! Come out of him!” Jesus has authority to drive out unclean spirits, to silence them and to heal those afflicted. Jesus continues to teach us today and continues to drive out many unclean spirits. How are we to understand this, the driving out of unclean spirits? It depends on how we see the concept of unclean spirits. Sometimes we jump to images of devils and demons, or remember a scene from a movie like poltergeist! But what unclean spirits is he wishing to drive out?

Well for sure an unclean spirit is not something desirable. Presumably its presence would lead to deleterious effects for the person infected or affected. Also it seems that it is powerful. The man possessed could not drive it out alone. However Jesus is stronger than the unclean spirit. His word dislodges the bad spirit. His truth is more powerful than lies and his light overcomes the darkness. So what are some examples of unclean spirits for us today? Let us not think that they do not exist today in our modern world. Certainly a fear can be an unclean spirit. It is good when we experience an irrational fear to pray to Jesus and put ourselves in his presence. To listen to his reassuring words that he is with us always. Often this alone brings peace and drives out unclean spirits. Sometimes an unclean spirit can be the holding of a grudge. It is unclean as it poisons our heart as does an indecent or sexual thought which can wreak havoc, attacking our eye and giving us an impure gaze. In a similar way when we don’t forgive someone it can be like an unclean spirit in us. Where outright sin is involved, the unclean spirit will not budge but thanks be to God we can listen to Jesus telling us “Be quiet! Come out of him!” in the sacrament of reconciliation. 

Sometimes the unclean spirit is a distorted truth which we hold on to in our intellect, often subconsciously. An example of an unclean spirit which resides in the intellect is the notion that the world population is exploding and the solution is widespread contraception. It is an unclean spirit that destroys human life in many countries especially the developing ones. Why? Because it proponents such as the United Nations and the World Bank, instead of devoting their efforts to doing good for humanity pour thousands of millions of dollars into contraceptive programs which include widespread sterilization and abortion. To make the coercion worse, aid packages are often offered on the condition that the country submits to the population control programs offered. 

If we listen to Jesus can we drive out this unclean spirit. He continues to speak through the teaching office of the Church. Reading the document “Ethical and Pastoral Dimensions of Population Trends” will help us to listen to the voice of Jesus. Read it and it will make a deep impression on you. As the psalmist tells us “O that today you would listen to his voice! Harden not your hearts”. On population the Church teaches that “much of the information published about demographic facts is open to question and is erroneous at times” such that all Christians are encouraged to “develop a critical spirit regarding the population crisis ideology.” When Pope Paul VI spoke to the United Nations in 1965 he said “You must strive to multiply bread so that it suffices for the tables of mankind, and not rather favor an artificial control of birth, which would be irrational, in order to diminish the number of guests at the banquet of life." **

Sometimes we are in allegiance with these modern day unclean spirits when we make little effort as Catholics to be well informed. Will we take the trouble to be informed? Will we let Jesus teach us? There is a danger today to be a less-than-critical consumers. To eat everything that comes our way. Like the hippopotamus in the zoo. One day he was thrown an apple and he gulped it down voraciously. Next day a coke can was lobbed in his direction and he swallowed it whole. On the last day a little boy was angry and threw some stones at the hippo. He gulped them down and shortly after died. What is the moral of the story? Don’t eat all that is thrown your way! Be a critical consumer! Make the effort to be informed before forming your opinion about such serious matters as population growth. 

A disciple is someone open to learn from the Master. To come to Jesus and be taught by him. Many people today will use their travel time to be better informed of church teaching – reading a spiritual book or church document, or even downloading by iPod or MP3 talks and homilies to listen to on their journey. How are you forming your mind? What are you reading on the train or bus? Jesus continue to teach us! Help us to be open. May the constant desire to search for the truth drive out many false ideas in our minds. May listening to your voice in the Church teaching help drive out many unclean spirits. Jesus continue to teach us! Make us good students and willing disciples. May your words, spoken in us and through our lives, continue to drive out many unclean spirits in us, in others and in our society of today. Amen.

(**The next page contains the mentioned document. Just click the title to reach the complete document)

ETHICAL AND PASTORAL DIMENSIONS OF POPULATION TRENDS

(To read the following document click the above title)

ETHICAL AND PASTORAL DIMENSIONS OF POPULATION TRENDS
Pontifical Council for the Family

This document is related to today's Sunday Reflection.

24 ene. 2009

REFLEXION Evangelio Semanal


La fuerza de Dios se muestra perfecta en la flaqueza humana.
(P. Luis Tamayo)

Concluíamos las Navidades con la fiesta del Bautismo del Señor. El domingo pasado vimos el Evangelio de Juan (1,25-42) la llamada que nos hacía Jesús “Ven y sígueme” y nuestra respuesta. El Evangelio de hoy de Marcos (1,14-20) vuelve a insistir en la llamada de Jesús a sus discípulos, pero hoy con un matiz distinto, hoy vamos a leerlo desde la figura de San Pablo. 

Llamada universal a la santidad

Lo primero que llama la atención de este pasaje es el deseo de Jesús de despertar en todos los hombres la llamada al seguimiento y discipulado. 

Pasando junto al lago de Galilea, vio a Simon y a su hermano Andrés, que eran pescadores. Jesús les dijo: “Venid conmigo y os haré pescadores de hombres”… Un poco más adelante vio a Santiago ya su hermano Juan…”

El lago de Galilea hoy pudiera ser la Calle de Rafael Finat, la boca de metro de Aluche, el Centro Comercial de Carefour… Pasando junto a la boca de metro, Jesús vio a Antonio, vio a Mari Carmen, etc. y nos dice: Ven y sígueme!

Jesús llama de entre la gente del pueblo. El Evangelio podía haber dicho: Jesús pasaba junto al templo y vio un hombre tan piadoso que lo llamó… pero se acercó a pescadores (Pedro), comerciantes, recaudadores de impuestos (Zaqueo), amas de casa (Marta y María), incluso a la suegra de Pedro… a las prostitutas (Mª Magdalena). Esto es lo que a mi más me gusta de Jesús que nunca dio a nadie por perdido.

Juan Pablo II invitaba abiertamente a todos los jóvenes “No tengáis miedo a ser santos” (Homilía del 20 de agosto de 1989 en Santiago de Compostela a los jóvenes)

Los documentos de la Iglesia así lo explicitan: “Llamada universal a la santidad”. Universal se refiere a todos, no sólo a unos pocos; no sólo a los curas y monjas, sino a todos… a la ama de casa, al obrero, al ejecutivo o director de banco, al médico, al panadero, al anciano, incluso al chaval de 16 años. Todos estamos llamados a la santidad.

Llamada desde la debilidad

Ahora la pregunta sería: aclárame eso de la santidad pues yo lo veo como algo inalcanzable.
¿Cómo puedo ser que Jesús llame a algo que sea inalcanzable?, ¿Cómo puede ser que los documentos de la Iglesia propongan algo que no se puede vivir?, ¿No sería contradictorio?; ¿Cómo puede ser que JPII invite a los jóvenes a vivir algo imposible? Eso es como ponerle al burro la zanahoria colgada de una caña por delante atada a su cuello… que nunca la alcanza a comer. Esto es como prometernos algo que jamás podríamos alcanzar. 

Entonces, ¿no será que tenemos un concepto erróneo de santidad? ¿no será que pensamos que la santidad es algo exclusivo sólo para unos pocos? 

La santidad no es ni perfeccionismo ni la colección de méritos acumulados para demostrar que no tengo error alguno. Mirar a la figura de San Pablo nos puede ayudar a despejar la incógnita.
San Pablo nos dice: 

(1Tim 1,12 y ss) Doy gracias a aquel que me revistió de fortaleza, a Cristo Jesús, Señor nuestro, que me consideró digno de confianza al colocarme en el ministerio,
13 a mí, que antes fui un blasfemo, un perseguidor y un insolente. Pero encontré misericordia porque obré por ignorancia en mi infidelidad.
14 Y la gracia de nuestro Señor sobreabundó en mí, juntamente con la fe y la caridad en Cristo Jesús.
15 Es cierta y digna de ser aceptada por todos esta afirmación: Cristo Jesús vino al mundo a salvar a los pecadores; y el primero de ellos soy yo.
16 Y si encontré misericordia fue para que en mí primeramente manifestase Jesucristo toda su paciencia y sirviera de ejemplo a los que habían de creer en él para obtener vida eterna.

(2Co 12, 7 y ss) para que no me engría con la sublimidad de esas revelaciones, fue dado un aguijón a mi carne, un ángel de Satanás que me abofetea para que no me engría.
8 Por este motivo tres veces rogué al Señor que se alejase de mí.
9 Pero él me dijo: "Mi gracia te basta, que mi fuerza se muestra perfecta en la flaqueza". Por tanto, con sumo gusto seguiré gloriándome sobre todo en mis flaquezas, para que habite en mí la fuerza de Cristo.
10 Por eso me complazco en mis flaquezas, en las injurias, en las necesidades, en las persecuciones y las angustias sufridas por Cristo; pues, cuando estoy débil, entonces es cuando soy fuerte.

¿Qué le llevó a la santidad? ¿qué nos lleva hacia la santidad? El sostener nuestra vida en la misericordia de Dios y en la confianza de Jesús. Es la humildad de reconocer que no soy perfecto, ponerle nombre a mis imperfecciones y limitaciones. Confesarlas a Dios y esperar de El sin temor alguno el abrazo misericordioso que me levanta para seguir luchando e intentándolo cada día.

Tenía un confesor con 94 años, ya en la cama o silla de ruedas, muy bien de la cabeza, pero muy débil de piernas. Yo decía que con un pie en la tierra y otro en el cielo. Alguien que había vivido, alguien que relativizaba lo que no era importante, alguien con la mirada en lo que es esencial de la vida. Y cuando me confesaba con Él y le decía mi lista de faltas… yo en mi vergüenza siempre me decía: “Muy bien, muy bien”… yo me preguntaba: ¿cómo que bien? Si es toda mi lista de imperfecciones que me cuesta aceptar… Entonces añadía: “Recibe ahora la misericordia de Dios; esto es lo único que nos sostiene la vida”. 

REFLECTION Sunday´s Gospel



“I will make you a fisher of people” 
(Fr James McTavish FMVD)

Jesus was walking along the shore of Lake Galilee. He saw two brothers casting a net in the lake. The brothers were Simon and Andrew and they were fishermen. Jesus said to them “Follow me, and I will make you a fisher of people.” At once, they left their nets and followed him. What did Jesus see in those simple fishermen? The first Pope and another Saint! Simon would be the first Pope and Andrew would be St Andrew (St Andrew is the patron Saint of Scotland and as he was crucified in a diagonal position the Scottish flag has a diagonal white cross in it.) It is interesting as in these fishermen Jesus sees fishers of men. In some ways it is the fulfillment of what a person is already doing. It is not a career change but more of a huge promotion. Before I became a priest I was a surgeon. I was working in the field of plastics and reconstruction. That is why I am so handsome. Just joking! I was working with children with facial deformities and trying to rebuild them. Sometimes when people hear that I am now a missionary priest they will comment “Oh why did you change?”, or “why did you leave it all behind?”. As the years have gone by I feel that answering the call of Jesus has meant that all my aspirations are being fulfilled. Jesus does not take away, he gives! The mission entrusted to the church is a mission to reconstruct, to give back the broken identity of many people, to make them beautiful once again. Many people who answer the call experience this, that to follow Jesus is to fulfill all human aspirations. I have met engineers who instead of building structures dedicate themselves to building bridges between people, accountants who teach people who invest in heavenly things, and mathematics teachers who now teach that 5 +2 = 5000 (remember the multiplication).

Most of the time in following Jesus we imagine all that we have to leave behind! If we only focus on the renouncement then we are missing the point. We are still not following him fully yet, only just thinking about it. As the slogan goes “Just do it!”, in the little options of everyday life and you will discover the joy to follow Jesus. He is not a thief who comes to steal but the giver of life who wants us to have life to the full. I remember my younger brother asking me about my decision to follow Jesus. He asked me about the vows of obedience, chastity and then hesitantly asked if I had to take a vow of poverty. I wondered why he was so interested until he asked “Well who is going to get your walkman?”! Sometimes we have to examine our lives and see what we are holding on to. Sometimes we are clutching on to things which have no real value. I remember in my novitiate visiting a very rich woman who was dying. She had asked for the anointing of the sick. During the unction she stretched out her hand. “Father, I have invested all my life in money. Do you know what I have now?”. She opened her palm and I was expecting to see a key to a hidden bank vault or perhaps a precious stone. But her palm was empty. “I go to my grave with nothing” she said sadly. 

Following Jesus will not leave us empty handed! The disciples became fishers of people. They caught so many fish, and you and I are one of them! Jesus has a huge horizon for each one of us. How can we participate in the great mission entrusted to the Church? Don’t worry, it is not too late. There is still lots of work to do! John Paul II said that after 2000 years the mission of the church is only just beginning. Sharing in the mission helps us leave many nets behind, many nets that just entangle us. How do we become fishers of people when maybe we can’t even catch a few little sardines? Jesus gives us the secret “Come follow me, and I will make you a fisher of people”. It is about following Jesus. He will do the miracles, the magical make over of our lives. He is the good Doctor and knows what needs to be reconstructed! A spiritual nip and tuck here and there, not just an eyebrow lift but lift up your eyes and see the mission fields ready for harvest. I am nobody, what can I do? Don’t say that! You are the next Pope! You are the next St. Andrew, you are a fisher of people! With me you will catch some big fish. Do you believe? Let the adventure begin. Time is running out, enough has been wasted. Ok Jesus, let’s go. I want to go fishing with you…

17 ene. 2009

REFLEXION Evangelio Semanal

Ven y sígueme! (Juan 1, 35 y ss)
(P. Luis Tamayo)

Una catequesis preciosa del camino del discipulado, de cómo crecer y llegar a ser verdadero discípulo de Cristo. Jesús busca y quiere nuestro crecimiento en la fe.

Primero alguien me habla de Jesús. Es una forma primera de conocer a Cristo. Juan es ese que habla de Jesús, Juan podía ser el sacerdote en la homilía del domingo, podía ser una persona de fe comentando su experiencia, podía ser esa mujer que da un buen consejo, podía ser el catequista con los niños, puede ser una madre inculcando la fe a sus hijos en el hogar… Juan sería esa persona que habla y lleva a la persona a Jesús.

¿Cuál es el primer efecto? Los otros oyeron sus palabras y siguieron a Jesús… muchas personas siguen a Jesús por las palabras de otros, por lo que otros dicen. Es necesario que se hable de Jesús. Por que unos hablaron otros encontraron a Jesús. Por que Juan habló, Andrés se encontró con Jesús.

Pero el evangelio da un paso más. A Jesús le interesa algo más, Jesús nos introduce en como llegar a ser un verdadero discípulo suyo. Yo pregunto: Para crecer en mi seguimiento de Jesús, en la fe en Cristo ¿es suficiente que otros me hablen de Jesús? ¿es suficiente saber de Jesús por lo que otros me dicen? Y si no… ¿qué es lo que haría falta? Hay algo más.

El evangelio nos explica como Juan habla de Jesús y luego los discípulos oyendo sus palabras siguieron a Jesús… el texto podía haber acabado ahí. Pero no, el texto añade una serie de detalles para ayudarnos a comprender más a fondo lo que significa llegar a ser discípulo de Cristo. A Jesús le interesa nuestro crecimiento… a Jesús le interesa que no sólo le conozcamos de oídas, por lo que otros dicen sino por un encuentro y un diálogo personal. Este sería un segundo paso. 

Pero aún así Jesús no se conforma y a aquellos que intentamos vivir nuestra fe desde una relación de amistad y un diálogo busca de nuevo nuestro crecimiento. Busca purificar nuestras verdaderas motivaciones. Dicen que cuando uno puede ir a más y crecer, el verdadero amor sería el empujarle para despertar verdaderas motivaciones para seguir adelante. Ej. Cualquier entrenador por que quiere lo mejor de su atleta le pincha y exige para que rinda al máximo, lo que busca es su bien. Así es Jesús.

La Palabra dice que Jesús al ver que lo seguían les preguntó ¿qué buscáis? La pregunta podría ser ¿por qué practicas tu fe? ¿por qué vienes a Misa?... ¿por qué es lo que toca? ¿por qué es un símbolo social? ¿por qué no tengo nada que hacer en casa? ¿por qué estoy asegurando mi salvación? ¿Por qué sigo la costumbre y rutina de cada domingo? 

Una joven hace unos meses me decía que se había planteado: “si quito la Misa del domingo ¿qué me distingue de un ateo? ¿qué me hace distinto de un buen hombre pero sin fe?… Ser cristiano ¿es sólo ser buen hombre?… Dicen que el infierno esta lleno de buenas intenciones.

Seguir a Cristo es sólo venir a Misa los domingos? Y que pasa de lunes a sábado? ¿qué es eso que te hace decir “yo soy discípulo de Cristo de domingo a domingo pasando por el L, M, M, J y S” las 24 h., los 7 días a la semana, losm365 días al año?.

Jesús sabe que podemos crecer en nuestro compromiso con Él, crecer como discípulo, crecer como comunidad cristiana, y crecer en nuestro compromiso con la Parroquia y el barrio. Jesús con esta pregunta busca purificar mis verdaderas motivaciones y hacerme salir de un cristianismo estancado y aburrido. “Tú puedes un poco más!!”.

Los discípulos reaccionan y se dan cuenta que quieren más. ¿No habéis sentido la necesidad de algo más en vuestro seguimiento de Cristo? ¿No habéis sentido el hastío o aburrimiento en vuestro camino de fe? Entonces ellos le preguntan ¿Dónde vives? Queremos estar contigo… cuando Jesús escucha esto de Andrés y su amigo entonces dice: Venid! Ven conmigo y verás! Ven que te voy a enseñar a vivir conmigo como discípulo!

Jesús lanza la palabra mágica que es capaz de mover y dinamizar la vida de una persona. Ven y sígueme! Son las palabras que han dinamizado y han movido a tantas personas a hacer cosas por la Iglesia. 

Seguir a Jesús no es algo que yo me propongo, es iniciativa suya. Uno puede venir a misa todos los domingos del año y no mover un dedo por los demás. (sólo hay que ver como hay pocos voluntarios en cualquier actividad de la Iglesia). Uno mueve toda su vida cuando hay una llamada de Jesús. 

La exp. De la Madre Teresa de Calcuta, de profesora acomodada a vivir con los más pobres entre los pobres. Ella vio una necesidad y en ella sintió la llamada de Jesús “Ven y sígueme en las calles con estas gentes”.

Uno no tiene que irse a la India para ver necesidades. A caso no hay necesidades en la Parroquia? En el barrio? En tu familia? En el vecindario? Y no me refiero a necesidades sólo económicas. Y viendo necesidades sólo si estás disponible escucharás a Jesús llamarte: Ayúdame! Échame una mano! Ofrécete voluntario! Pregunta si hay algo en que puedas servir a tu comunidad!

La invitación a venir y ver que hace Jesús es una invitación a hacer experiencia de su persona y entrar en la intimidad de su amistad. Por eso el texto dice a continuación que “se fueron con él, vieron donde vivía y se quedaron con él aquel día” (v. 39). Ver donde vive es verle en las necesidades y quedarse con él es responder y ofrecerme a ayudarle. Seguir a Jesús es involucrarse en necesidades. Sólo desde aquí uno entra en una verdadera experiencia personal, vital y profunda con el Maestro.

REFLECTION Sunday´s Gospel




“All glory and honour is yours Almighty Father!” 
(by Fr. James McTavish FMVD)

There is a film called “Les Miserables” based on the novel by Victor Hugo. The opening scenes show a convict being welcomed by a kindly Bishop. The convict abuses the hospitality, steals the silverware and strikes down the Bishop to make good his escape. He is soon caught and brought back to the convent by the police. To the shock and surprise of both the police and the convict, the Bishop, sporting a bruised face and black eye, states that he gave the silverware to the convict as a gift. In this way the police have to release him. Later the Bishop tells the convict “I have rescued you. I have bought your soul from the devil and given it back to God. Now go and live the life of a new man”. The convict changes his ways and dedicates his life to good deeds and helping others for the glory of God. He never forgot that he had been redeemed, that his life had been bought and paid for out of mercy and love. His whole life points to Christ. St Paul gives each one of us the exact same lesson today “You are not your own property; you have been bought and paid for. That is why you should use your body for the glory of God”.

To use our lives for the glory of God. The motto of the Jesuits is “For the greater glory of God”. We cannot live only as we want. St Paul reminds us “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Keep away from fornication”. In what way does your life give glory to God? Does it point clearly to him? It is easy to point to something when we are passionate about it. When we watch a film it is not difficult to persuade others to go and watch it if we really enjoyed it. If we are passionate and enjoy our relationship with God then it will be easier for our lives to point to him. The life of John the Baptist was like this. His life pointed clearly to Jesus so much so that his disciples left him and went to follow Jesus much to John’s joy. Sometimes we are the ones who receive the praise and glory. I remember once in some theology exams I did quite well. Everyone came up to me and said well done. I got a bit tired of the accolades after about the tenth person congratulated me and said how great I was. My younger brother was with me and I said “All glory and honour is yours Almighty Father!” The following week my brother was involved in a sports festival. When he went up to collect the gold medal for track and field on his T shirt he had the words “All glory and honour is yours Almighty Father”!

When we give glory to God we have so much peace. We acknowledge that the talents we have are a gift from God. It is a good remedy for jealousy too. Sometimes when I am tempted to be jealous for the capacity of someone who is “better” than me I remember what the angels said - “Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth”. When I thank God for the talents of others, and give glory to him I experience peace as it reminds me that the talents were given by God and I too have talents. Then I experience peace and thanksgiving not jealousy. All we have been given is to point to God and give glory to him.

Of course when a person is really rooted and founded in Jesus their life will always point to him in whatever they do. Like Kaka the famous Brazilian footballer who after the European Championship final took off his shirt to reveal a vest underneath with the words “I BELONG TO JESUS” emblazoned across it. How cool is that in front of all the TV cameras! Or a friend of mine who was a member of the Blues rugby team of Cambridge University. On seeing the drunkenness and bad behavior of fellow players after a victorious match he decided not to drink so much when he went out with them. He not only earned many points as a speedy winger on the rugby park but also he earned the deep respect of many people including myself when I was a wayward student. When I asked him why he didn’t enjoy the big nights out getting totally drunk like the rest of the team he shared to me his beliefs. His life pointed clearly to Jesus. Now 20 years on he is a successful surgeon, happily married with a loving wife and family. His life still points clearly to the Lord. How about us? When we are at work, with friends, where does our life point?

Sometimes we can live a dichotomy, a kind of division between what we say and profess with our lips and the actual lives we lead. Our life does not point to God. To help us and to close the gap between faith and life we need the help of others. Why? Because we have blind spots. Like Samuel in the first reading of today. God was trying to speak to him but he could not hear properly. He needed the help of Eli. We need to be humble to receive the help of each other. Sometimes we don’t look for the help of others. Sometimes I am afraid to come to the light. Sometimes I cannot bear criticism. This is the scar left by the wound of pride. I like the advice of Bo Sanchez, a popular Filipino preacher. He says when you are criticized bear it bravely, sift through it and find the gold amongst the trash. Take the criticism with appreciation, humor and forbearance.

Let us ask for the help of John the Baptist that our lives can point clearly to Jesus, that as we say in the Holy Mass “All glory and honour is yours Almighty Father”. That our lives can be like a compass, pointing clearly to Jesus. Lord, help us give glory to you, to be passionate for you, for your Kingdom! Not to us the glory, not to us give glory. All glory and honour is yours Almighty Father.

Never give up!

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11 ene. 2009

The Baptism of the Lord


“Don’t be afraid to dive in!”
(Fr. James McTavish FMVD)

Today the Universal Church celebrates the baptism of the Lord when Jesus was baptized by John in the river Jordan. Baptism is a sacrament, a mystery. What does it mean that Jesus was baptized? In being baptized Jesus enters fully into the human condition. Entering the water he shows us his desire to enter into our human situation, to dive in. 

In Greek, the word baptize means to dip or immerse oneself in water. In antiquity it was common in baptism for the candidate to be fully immersed in the water. Jesus was the first one to enter fully and totally into the murky depths of the Jordan, but in a symbolic and real way to dive into the murky depths of our humanity. He goes ahead of us, sanctifying what he finds and opening a way. Jesus is fully human and fully divine. Often we have an expression “I am only human”. If only we were really fully human! The one who is fully human is the one who lets himself be loved fully by God, who is divinized and sanctified by the Spirit. 

Without God’s grace and love we cannot enter fully into the human experience. What we see, the complexities, contradictions and ambiguities frighten us off. The human condition marked by sin is not possible for us to embrace without divine assistance. Only the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world can redeem us. St Maximus of Turin commented “Christ is baptized, not that he may be sanctified in the waters, but that he himself may sanctify the waters”. He sanctifies the human condition, loving it, embracing it and redeeming it. John Paul II in his encyclical about the Christ the Redeemer of man wrote that man remains a mystery unto himself unless he encounters love, embraces it and makes it his own (Cf. Redemptor hominis 10). 

What is the consequence of not fully encountering and embracing love? We sit on the fence. We don’t commit, we don’t dive in. How often we are afraid to commit! Afraid to make a decision, uncertain and insecure. Of course we need to discern well, to “test everything and retain what is good”. But sometimes it is very obvious what is needed! We know God’s will clearly. 

Committing ourselves means we have to confront our inconsistencies. Don’t be afraid to dive in!!! Sometimes watching rock concerts you see the die hard fans climbing on stage and before the security can capture them they launch themselves into the crowd in what is known as ‘stage diving’. They do this because they know they will be caught by many safe hands of people in the crowd. And us? We know that when we dive into God’s will, the safe hands of three very dependable persons will catch us – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit will catch us! 
In the baptism scene God the Father speaks and reminds all to trust in Jesus “This is my Son, my beloved. Listen to him”. The Father assures us that we are safe in the hands of his Son. Trust is very important. What is Jesus telling you? So if God is for you who can be against you? Time is passing fast. Get on with it. Otherwise we grow old and we are only theoretical persons, people who bore others with all our ‘plans’ but no action because we have no faith. What are you afraid of? The worst that can happen is that we make a mistake! Don’t be afraid! Dive in…

10 ene. 2009

The Baptism of the Lord


The water of baptism flows with healing mercy.
 (by Luis Tamayo)

In the Western Church we end the Christmas season with the Feast of the Lord’s “Baptism in the Jordan”. It marks the beginning of what is called his “public” ministry. He was thirty years old. He spent thirty redemptive years of life in what writers have sometimes called His “hidden years” in Nazareth’s school, “growing in wisdom and stature”. (Luke 2:52) They were not “hidden” in the sense of unimportant. It simply means that we do not find much about them in the Gospel accounts. There is no doubt that even during those so called “hidden” years the plan, purpose and redemptive implications of the entire saving life, death, and resurrection of Jesus were being manifested and revealed. They reveal how the ordinary becomes “extraordinary” when lived in communion with the Father. 

The “Baptism of the Lord” is also called the “Theophany”, the manifestation of God Himself. The word “Epiphany” means “manifestation”, a making present, a revealing. Our Gospel at the Liturgy will recount the wondrous revealing of the Holy Trinity. As the Incarnate Word of the Father was immersed in the Waters, the voice of the Father is heard and the Spirit descends. (Mark 1:7-11) 

The “Theophany” has inspired extraordinary reflection in the Tradition. Here is an excerpt from an early homily: “Therefore the Lord Jesus came to baptism, and willed to have his body washed with water. Perhaps some one will say: “He who is holy, why did he wish to be baptized?” Pay attention therefore! Christ is baptized, not that he may be sanctified in the waters, but that he himself may sanctify the waters, and by his own purification may purify those streams which he touches.” (St. Maximus of Turin, 423 AD) 

The waters of the Jordan are sanctified by the Son and now all water is sanctified. Just as the Spirit hovered over the waters of the original creation, the Spirit hovers over the waters where the Son is immersed by John. This is the reason why in the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, the clergy often lead the faithful to rivers and entire rivers are blessed! 

One of the first elements of creation created by the Father through the Son, is now re-created through the Incarnate Son. 

The Word Incarnate stands in the waters of the earth which was created through Him. Into these waters, through which the people of Israel were once delivered, the entire human race is now invited to follow Jesus. 

The Greek word for “Baptism” means to be immersed. The entire world will be “immersed” in God and transformed.
Descending into the waters of the Jordan Jesus, who shares our humanity, makes that living water flow with healing mercy for those who accepts Jesus in their life. 

8 ene. 2009

Lo que no acepto del otro es una bendición para mi

Crecer como persona...
(Luis J. Tamayo)

La lectura de Mc 6, 34-44 me ha inspirado hoy para darme cuenta de mis actitudes muchas veces de falta de tolerancia con los demás; y sin embargo ver a Jesús como el vive la compasión frente a la indigencia mía y la de los otros.

“Jesús vio una multitud y sintió compasión de ellos…” más adelante dice la Palabra que Jesús “ estuvo con ellos con calma”.

¿Quienes eran estos hombres? Cualquier persona nos vale. Cuando miramos nuestras relaciones con los demás, especialmente la familia, siempre encontramos cosas que no nos gustan del otro, alguna cosa nos encontramos en el roce y en la convivencia que me hace saltar, que no me gusta, que no tolero. Llamémoslas las imperfecciones que a todos nos cuestan aceptar.

Todo ser humano, en un momento u otro revela algún defecto de carácter o de personalidad, algo que yo acabo por no tolerar. Así pasa en la lectura. Estos hombres demuestran falta de consideración, mira la hora, ya es tarde. Los discípulos tienen toda la razón, “ya es tarde, y a demás estamos en un despoblado… parece que no se enteran. Jesús mejor que vayan a las aldeas de alrededor y que ellos se compren de comer… ¿cómo vamos a darles nosotros de comer ahora, a estas horas? Despídelos!

Así somos muchas veces, nosotros tenemos toda la razón, ¿a caso no era tarde? ¿acaso no podían ir a otras aldeas? ¿acaso no estamos en un despoblado y desprovistos? ¿acaso no pueden ellos comprase de comer?, y así podíamos tener un sin fin de justificaciones y razones a nuestro favor. Uno puede examinar aquí que justificaciones tiene frente a “eso” que le molesta del otro. 

Me parece ver en Jesús la lección magistral. Jesús con su gesto me esta enseñando no sólo que no tengo tolerancia frente a la situación molesta de los otros, sino que me está enseñando como ejercer la compasión. Es precioso, Jesús no me suelta el sermón teórico de cómo ser compasivo y tolerante, sino que me pone manos a la obra para que yo mismo me de cuenta que en el fondo no son los defectos del otro sino mi propio orgullo y falta de tolerancia frente a los defectos.

Los defectos del otro no son lo que me molesta “dentro de mí” sino los que está enfermo dentro de mi es lo que me hace daño, y lo que no funciona es la comprensión, la paciencia, la tolerancia, el entendimiento, la compasión frente a las indigencias de los otros. Jesús me pone en mi verdad, yo soy el que tiene el problema, pues algo por dentro de mi no esta bien cuando tanto me molestan las cosas de los otros.

Y Jesús con su pedagogía, no me denuncia, no me dicta, no me suelta el “rollo”, sino que me pone “manos a la obra”… es como ese: “no te quedes ahí quejandote, sino que reconoce tus propios defectos y sal de ti mismo”. Esto es lo único que cura el egoísmo del hombre.

Jesús les replicó: “dadles vosotros de comer”. Ellos sin embargo siguen en sus lógicas. “¿Cómo? ¿Vamos a ir a comprar doscientos denarios de pan para darles de comer? Como nos cuesta salir de nuestras justificaciones… ¿Cómo?, ¿voy a ser yo el que tiene que dar el primer paso?; ¿Cómo?, ¿voy a ser yo el que tenga que ceder?; ¿Cómo?, ¿voy a ser yo el que no tiene razón?...

Jesús nos responde… Sí, se tú el que de el primer paso; se tú el que ceda y pida perdón; se tú el que deje de luchar por la razón; se tú el que cambie primero de actitud… y Jesús empezó a bendecir a aquellos que a mi me cuestan aceptar en sus defectos, y los bendijo delante de mí para que yo también lo hiciera… y así aprender a ser tolerante y compasivo con mis propios defectos, pues en el fondo lo que no acepto y me quejo del otro es una bendición para mi propio crecimiento como persona.

6 ene. 2009

The Feast of the Epiphany


“Be an epiphany of my love to all!” 
(Fr. James McTavish FMVD)

Epiphany comes from the Greek and means ‘manifestation’. This feast is the manifestation of God’s glory to all peoples. How did God manifest himself? Well there were no fireworks, brass bands, no fanfare of earthly trumpets, no interviews, media or TV crews. There was no reporters from Hello magazine, no autographs, no awards. Just a little baby lying there with Mary and Joseph. In fact it was so simple, so humble and so sublime that even the great biblical scholars of King Herod missed it. They knew the scriptures that prophesied the birth of the infant King but in the reality did not recognize his coming. And the same goes for me. I can know that Jesus is born but do I really witness the manifestation of God’s glory? 

We can learn from the Wise men. How did they arrive at the infant King? What guided them? A star. It led the way. The star shone in the darkness and pointed the way. We too have a star to guide us, many stars. The star of our faith. The star of the Word of God which is a light for our path. The star of the teachings of the Church to guide us when the way is not clear. The star of the Community which accompanies us on the journey. The star of many lives who have gone before us, whose lives point clearly to Christ. Which star are we following on our journey?

We are called to follow the guiding star and not just any bright lights. Once scientists were amazed observing the behavior of newborn turtles. Instead of going to the safety of the ocean after their birth they went to the newly built highway where they were crushed under the wheels of cars. After investigation the scientists realized that instead of following the light of the moon, reflected on the ocean surface, they were being drawn to the dangerous highway by the light of the car headlights. Sometimes we too are confused. Instead of following the light of faith we go after many bright lights which put our dignity as children of God in danger. The bright lights of success at all costs, the lure of vices such as excess alcohol or drugs. When we do not follow the true light that has come into the world we can be crushed like the little turtles. The Epiphany is an invite to follow the true light that has come into the world. “Rise up in splendor! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. See darkness covers the earth, but upon you the Lord shines. Nations shall walk by your light” (See Isaiah 60:1-6).
 
The infant King is the glory and splendor of God. He is the one of whom the prophet spoke “the people that walked in darkness have seen a great light”. The gifts of the three Kings bear witness to the manifestation of God’s glory in a little baby. Gold is for a King, incense is for the High Priest and myrrh for the one who is to die to save us (it was commonly used to embalm the body after death to prepare it for burial). The wise men do not offer these gifts to King Herod but to the infant King, Jesus. Let us not give the gifts of our time, our affections, our energy, our talents to the Kings of this world! What a joy to offer what we have to the true King, Jesus. 

Many have not yet discovered the love of God. The feast of today is a reminder that God’s light, life and love are for all people. Typically the 3 Magis are represented with different colours of skin to show the universality of God’s love. God wants his love to reach to all people. Each one of us can share in this great task and mission. We too are called to be light. Jesus needs you to be an epiphany or a manifestation of his love. Go for it! Don’t let anyone stop you. There are many Herods who will try to get in the way. But keep your eyes fixed on Christ and stay away from Herod. Like the Wise men. They really were wise because they were warned in a dream not to go back to Herod so they went home another way. Jesus is telling us in this Feast “Be an epiphany of my love to all!”. We can respond “Jesus, I want to manifest your love. Help my little life to be a bright and shining epiphany of you love!!!”

1 ene. 2009

2009... God is With Us!!

Emmanuel (God is with us)

To be called "simple" is not usually a compliment. Yet one dictionary defines the word as meaning plain, honest and intelligible. So maybe it's not such a bad thing to be. Nevertheless, somehow we feel suspicious when something seems too simple. "Where is the catch?" we ask ourselves. It is almost as though we need some elaborate complexities before we can accept it.

Jesus understood this human weakness very well. Throughout his life he used simple illustrations to reveal God's plans. He used the corn, a relaxed meal with friends, fishing and wine-making, so vividly and effectively. Yet the Scribes and Pharisees constantly asked, "What's the catch?" each time they encountered him.

Simplicity is at the heart of Christ's message, "Your heavenly Father loves you as you are", no strings, no catch. Even if we turn away or do not believe this, he still loves us.

During the weeks of Advent, we listen to many rousing prophecies about the coming of the Messiah. At the end of this season we are presented with a little baby. The baby Jesus might appear too simple a solution to the problems of God's people. "What's the catch?" we may ask.

Christ's birth is the celebration of the great Emmanuel (God is with us) mystery. And God is with us so that we may know that we are infinitely loveable. To come as a baby was his first and greatest lesson to us, for it teaches us the most important lessons of all about God's attitude towards us.

A child is full of freshness and trusting love. Its eyes are to the future - to growing up. Unspoilt by prejudice or bitterness, each child is a new beginning. A child's loving confidence can make the greatest villain think again, and it can bring new life to the old and weary.

But the greatest lesson is one which we have all experienced when we have stretched out a tentative finger to a new baby - he or she grasps it with an uncanny strength. Stretch out just one finger to the Lord this Christmas and he will take strong hold of you for as long as you let him.