29 oct. 2012

XXX Domingo T.O. REFLEXION Evangelio Semanal,



La Nueva evangelizaión
P. Luis J. Tamayo

Marcos 10,46-52: En aquel tiempo, al salir Jesús de Jericó con sus discípulos y bastante gente, el ciego Bartimeo, el hijo de Timeo, estaba sentado al borde del camino, pidiendo limosna. Al oír que era Jesús Nazareno, empezó a gritar: «Hijo de David, Jesús, ten compasión de mí.» Muchos lo regañaban para que se callara. Pero él gritaba más:
«Hijo de David, ten compasión de mí.» Jesús se detuvo y dijo:
«Llamadlo.» Llamaron al ciego, diciéndole:
«Ánimo, levántate, que te llama.» Soltó el manto, dio un salto y se acercó a Jesús.
Jesús le dijo:
«¿Qué quieres que haga por ti?» El ciego le contestó:
«Maestro, que pueda ver.» Jesús le dijo:
«Anda, tu fe te ha curado.» Y al momento recobró la vista y lo seguía por el camino.

El Evangelio de hoy sobre el ciego Bartimeo nos hace pensar en que hay muchos bartimeos alrededor nuestro. Hace días hablaba con una persona y me decía que se sentía como Bartimeo: “sentado al borde del camino”. Sentía como si muchos de los cristianos que él conocía tuvieran claro el camino a seguir y el no… Me decía: “Vale, participo con mi familia de la misa dominical… pero ¿la misa dominical es todo? Este hombre es alguien que quiere hacer un camino de vida espiritual y no sabe como. Está parado al borde del camino.
Hay un video que circula por YouTube que se titula: “También vosotros daréis testimonio” de la Conferencia Episcopal en el que los jóvenes dicen lo que piensan de la Iglesia. El primer joven que habla dice: “para mi Dios es sólo una palabra”.  Nosotros vemos cómo los jóvenes no tienen claro el camino a seguir dentro de la Iglesia. Unos no creen, otros creyendo no participan, otros participando se aburren, etc. Están como Bartimeo que no ven un camino dentro de la vida de la Iglesia… 
La imagen es real: cuanta gente hay como Bartimeo: “sentada y al borde del camino”, es decir, a un lado y sin saber que hacer. Sin ver un camino claro, sin ver la posibilidad de participar de la vida misma de la Iglesia.
Ayer, Mons. Cesar Franco, obispo auxiliar de Madrid, hacía la presentación de “Misión-Madrid” para nuestra Vicaría. Y en la charla que daba decía que muchas veces se le ha echado la culpa a la Iglesia de que es poco atractiva, pero el lanzaba la pregunta a cada uno para preguntarnos si nuestra vida como cristiano es atractiva para otros.
Muchas veces es fácil mirar hacia fuera… La iglesia es así, los curas son asá… es decir, tirando balones fuera… pero uno pocas veces uno se para y mirándose a si mismo se pregunta: Y ¿yo? Mi vida como cristiano ¿atrae a los demás?
¿Mi vida es luz para los que no ven? ¿Mi vida abre caminos para los que están sentados? ¿Mi compromiso con la Iglesia anima a otros a participar de la vida de la Comunidad parroquial?
Ahora está aconteciendo el Sinodo de Obispos en Roma convocado por el Papa Benedicto XVI con el título: La nueva Evangelización. En ella se está hablando de la identidad de la Iglesia y retomando de Pablo Vl dice: «Evangelizar constituye, en efecto, la vocación propia de la Iglesia, su identidad más profunda. Ella existe para evangelizar» (EN 14)
La pregunta que uno se debe hacer es ¿si yo me siento plenamente Iglesia? Y si es así, si yo soy Iglesia, si entiendo que evangelizar constituye la esencia de mi vocación cristiana.
¿Qué es Evangelizar?
Al oír que era Jesús Nazareno, empezó a gritar: «Hijo de David, Jesús, ten compasión de mí.» Muchos lo regañaban para que se callara. Pero él gritaba más:
«Hijo de David, ten compasión de mí.» Jesús se detuvo y dijo:
«Llamadlo.» Llamaron al ciego, diciéndole:
«Ánimo, levántate, que te llama.» Soltó el manto, dio un salto y se acercó a Jesús.

Es escuchar el clamor de muchos Bartimeos que oyen hablar de Jesús, y que desde sus corazones gritan que desean conocerlo.
Jesús dice: Llamadlo, no usa el singular, sino el plural. Jesús pide a la comunidad de discípulos que llamen al ciego, es labor de la comunidad parroquial, de la comunidad de cristianos quienes llamen al que está distante y no encuentra un camino que de sentido a su vida.
Evangelizar fue llamar al ciego, animarle y pedirle levantarse e iniciar un camino… el resto es historia entre Jesús y Bartimeo, es diálogo entre Jesús y cada uno de nosotros, ahí es donde uno ya se retira. Evangelizar es poner un granito de arena, es poner un poco de mi parte, y dejar que Dios actúe en la vida de los hombres. .

30th Sunday of Ordinary Time, REFLECTION Sunday´s Gospel,


Amazing Grace!
Fr. James McTavish

Jer 31:7-9 Ps 126:1-2a, 2b-3, 4-5, 6 Heb 5:1-6 Mark 10:46-52

In the famous song “Amazing Grace,” one line goes “I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.” It was written by a former slave trader, John Newton, after his conversion and subsequent opposition to the inhuman trafficking of slaves. The blindness he refers to is not physical but spiritual.

In the gospel of today Jesus heals a blind man. Bartimaeus the blind man is sitting by the side of the road, begging. His life is static –he is sat down and going nowhere until he is touched by divine grace. His life changes, is transformed and he begins to follow Jesus along the Way. Jesus is the healer and brings sight to the blind. The contact with Jesus changes Bartimaeus, it changed John Newton and can change each one of us. Many times we hardly believe in change. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” And of course if we don’t experience change personally, we can hardly believe it is possible for this world to change. But as the Spanish song goes, “Don’t give me a new world, but rather give me new eyes to see you working.” It is beautiful to open your eyes and see God working all around us.

I took part in a silent retreat this weekend called, “Be a man.” It was attended by 25 males. It is easy to be a male in the world of today but not so easy to be a man. Looking at Jesus, seeing how he lived helped us all to open our eyes. To see the life we are called to live. It was a great privilege to listen to the fruits of the retreat today in our final sharing. Wow! God is powerful. His grace is amazing and superabundant. The Word of God listened to, assimilated and prayed is really a seed of change for our world of today. The Word is living and effective, sharper than any two edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). Being touched in prayer, many of us opened our eyes to see God working in our lives and to hear his call to dedicate more to the mission entrusted to us.

In the episode of Bartimaeus, when he hears that Jesus is calling him and asking him to respond, he threw aside his beggar’s cloak, jumped up and ran to Christ. That cloak encumbered him, stopped him responding with dynamism to the call of the Lord. What cloak stops you responding more faithfully to the call of the Lord? Sometimes we are too wrapped up in comfort, too engulfed in what others might think or too immersed in indifference, blinded to the needs of others.  Lord, open my eyes to see the needs of others! This is a great blindness in our world of today. When we become wrapped up in ourselves then we can become blind in our selfishness. Why not throw away our cloak, our false securities and stand up? As the crowd shout, “Courage! Get up, Jesus is calling you.”

After experiencing the grace of Christ we will want others to experience it too. This is the challenge of the mission. As the psalmist recounts, “those who sow in tears will reap with joy” (Psalm 126). Sowing in sweat will yield fruit if we persevere. Many people will be able to experience the grace of Christ through our very own lives. Yes! Jesus asks us and needs our help to bring sight to the blind, to take up the wonderful challenge to be agents of change in our society of today, agents of transformation. Are you ready to participate in this amazing work? “Yes, of course Lord, I am ready, count me in. I want many more people to experience your amazing grace.”

21 oct. 2012

XIX Domingo T.O. - Domingo Mundial de la Mision



Hágase tu voluntad
(P. Luis J. Tamayo)

Marcos 10, 35-45: En aquel tiempo, se acercaron a Jesús los hijos de Zebedeo, Santiago y Juan, y le dijeron: «Maestro, queremos que hagas lo que te vamos a pedir.» Les preguntó: «¿Qué queréis que haga por vosotros?» Contestaron: «Concédenos sentarnos en tu gloria uno a tu derecha y otro a tu izquierda.» Jesús replicó: «No sabéis lo que pedís…»

El otro día fui testigo de una de las más grandes pataletas de un niño que jamás yo había visto. En el supermercado, después de hacer la compra, estando a la cola para pagar en la caja, de repente los gritos de un niño, lleno de rabia, chillaba a su padre por que pedía más chocolatinas… cuando al fijarme en él ya tenía las manos llenas de caramelos y chocolatinas, pero no le eran suficientes, pedía más… Quería que su padre hiciera lo que él pedía, y, además, con rabia y gran exigencia.
Nuestra oración delante de Dios es muchas veces así, como la del niño, y le exigimos a Dios que se haga lo que le pedimos. Así hicieron los hijos de Zebedeo, leemos en el Evangelio (Marcos 10, 35): “En aquel tiempo, se acercaron a Jesús los hijos de Zebedeo, Santiago y Juan, y le dijeron: «Maestro, queremos que hagas lo que te vamos a pedir».” 
El evangelio de hoy es una verdadera escuela de oración de Jesús con sus discípulos. ¿Qué es la oración sino la relación y el diálogo con el mismo Jesús? Los primeros discípulos pudieron tratar a Jesús cara a cara, así como lo vemos reflejado en el Evangelio; pero nosotros no tenemos nada que envidiar, también tenemos el privilegio de poder hacerlo por medio del Espíritu Santo. Ahora bien, el examen que uno puede hacer a la luz del evangelio de hoy es ¿cómo nos acercamos a Él?
La iglesia, por medio del catecismo, nos enseña varios tipos de oración: la oración mental, la contemplación, la adoración, la oración de acción de gracias, la oración de alabanza y también la oración de intercesión o petición. El texto de hoy entra dentro de la oración de petición.
En el texto de Marcos vemos como la petición de Santiago y Juan a Jesús esconde una gran exigencia: «Maestro, queremos que hagas lo que te vamos a pedir»; ¿Cuántas veces nuestra oración es así? “…mira Jesús, has de hacer lo que yo te pido”. En el fondo refleja una actitud un tanto manipuladora de Santiago y Juan, que busca que Jesús haga lo que ellos quieren, como si ellos supieran mejor lo que más conviene. “Mira Jesús, vengo a decirte que hagas lo que yo quiero”.
Que distinto cuando Jesús nos enseña a decir en la oración del Padre Nuestro: “Hágase tu voluntad”, es decir, esta petición implica el deseo de: “quiero que hagas lo que tu consideres mejor”. Es ponerse delate de Alguien a quien verdaderamente considero como Dios, como Dueño y Señor de la Vida y que sabe lo que más conviene.
La diferencia entre una y otra forma de acercarse al Señor es obvia. La primera esconde la arrogancia humana de creer que sabe lo que más conviene; la segunda refleja la humildad que pide todo acto de oración. El catecismo nos lo enseña así: “la humildad es la base de la oración” (CCC 2559).  La primera busca manipular a Dios; la segunda implica ponerse en plena confianza y abandono delante de Dios. La primera pone siempre a la persona en la queja sin al final no sale lo que yo quiero; la segunda vive siempre en el agradecimiento de que sea lo que sea es lo que más conviene.
La voluntad de Dios no es que uno sufra un cáncer, un accidente, una catástrofe… eso sería contradecir la naturaleza misma de Dios. Dios es VIDA y AMOR, y en el amor no entra el desear el mal a otro. La Palabra de Dios nos enseña que la voluntad de nuestro Padre es “que todos los hombres se salven y lleguen al conocimiento de la verdad” (CCC 2822; 1 Tm2, 3-4); su voluntad es que “nos amemos los unos a los otros como él nos ha amado” (Jn 13,34; Lc 10,25-37). La vida nos puede deparar cosas buenas y cosas malas. Dios permite que pasen, no las envía. Y así su voluntad es que vivamos todas estas circunstancias de la vida que van aconteciendo muy unidos a Él, arropados en su gracia, en su fuerza y en su consuelo, y que desde Él demos vida y amor al mundo, seamos luz para el mundo y testigos de su amor.

29th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B - World Mission Sunday


Be great in God's sight
(Fr. James McTavish)


Isa 53:10-11 Ps 33:4-5, 18-19, 20+22 Heb 4:14-16 Mark 10:35-45

Today in the gospel we find James and John aspiring to greatness. They approach Jesus and tell him to do whatever they ask of him. The brothers are not shy! Jesus is so very open and accommodating and asks them what they want. Well they want to sit at his right and his left in the Kingdom. Jesus lets them know that they do not know what they are asking! Jesus really desires that we be great in LOVE not in worldly honours or achievements. He tells his disciples that he has a baptism of fire to undergo and that “whoever wishes to be great must be the servant...for the Son of man did not come to be served but to give his life as a ransom for many.”

I remember meeting a Christian willing to give their life for others when in Sydney in 1998. It made a profound impression on me and started me on my quest for my vocation. I went to my local parish and had been out running in a 10 kilometre run in the morning. I was feeling so healthy and strong. When I sat down in the mass, a little old lady came and sat beside me. “Poor old dear,” I thought, “I am glad I am still young and strong.”  The priest began the mass and told us that this day was Mission Sunday. I did not know what it was. He said “Today we will listen to a missionary from Africa, who has been through a war, then put in prison.” “Wow awesome!“ I thought and imagined the Arnold Schwarzenegger type of missionary who would be going to speak in the homily.

When the homily arrived the little old lady tapped me on the shoulder. I assumed she wanted to go to the bathroom. What a surprise I got when instead of heading towards the bathroom she started walking towards the altar. So this was the missionary who had been in Africa. She started to speak and her face was lit up by the love of Christ. She was sharing about the children in Africa and I must say I never saw a human being so in love with humanity.  Her whole face shone and lit up the darkness of my heart - “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has never put it out” (John 1:5). She then told us how she was put in prison and given death threats. She had so much power. My muscles meant nothing compared to the power of love! She was so courageous. She said that she had a rifle placed at her head and was threatened with death. She replied, “The only way you will get me to leave this country is in a body bag”

I wanted to love like that. I wanted to know the Christ she knew. The Christ I knew was not the same one. I came to church I would sit at the back and would leave as soon as the mass finished. She was in a different league…I was playing football in the back garden and she was in the Premier League! Who is this Christ that drives her in the mission? It is the Christian one, the one we receive in every Eucharist! How come I am not so fired up as her, how come I often feel lethargic and lacking in love when there is a whole world to love! I WANT TO KNOW YOU JESUS AND YOUR LOVE!  What is the secret of mission? What drives one in the mission? LOVE! “Do you love me?” asked Jesus, “then feed my sheep.”

The theme that Pope Benedict chose for the world Mission Sunday is: “The Nations will come to its light” (Revelations 21:24). When we look at the Mass, so many are drawn to the light of Christ.  So many faces, so many colours, not the United Colours of Benetton, but the united colours of Benedict! All drawn by the light of Christ.
This light needs to shine in the heart of each Christian, in each one of our lives. People will be drawn to Christ by the fire in us for him. If you are in love with him you will draw others. It is not simply doing many things, it is to be in love with Jesus. Look at the patrons of the mission. Who are they? St Thérèse of Lisieux. She did not go to all nations, like the other patron St Francis Xavier. He went to so many lands, but St Thérèse never left her convent! How come she is patron of mission? What did she do? She had a great love for Christ. One day she was praying with Songs 1:4 - “Draw me and we will run.” How come? Draw me. Who is the we? All the other souls… - in Taiwan our Verbum Dei sisters told us about the faith there. It is a country with very few Christians.  But who do many of them love? St Thérèse of Lisieux! She never went there but the love she has is global and universal!

Of course it does not remain that we all stay at home. She was faithful to her call and so must we be. To bring the light of Christ as a community to the world: “You are the light of the world!” What sometimes lacks in our Christian following? Why is it not exciting? Mission! We are all missionaries! The whole Church is missionary, by her very nature! We are all missionaries and we share in the mission of Christ. The Church exists by mission as fire exists by burning! What makes fire, fire, is in the burning. What makes Church the Church is mission.

Jesus said, “I have come to set the earth on fire and how I wish it was already blazing!” (Luke 12:49). How important that we attract the people to the light of Christ otherwise they will be attracted to many other lights.

We need the light of Christ to open our eyes. When I started to pray with the Word of God I started to become enlightened. I was opening my eyes gradually to the needs of others. I was working in Sydney then, I came for an 18 months job in Plastics and reconstructive surgery and then planned to go back home to England. One day in the hospital I was asked to see a young man of 26, who had cut his wrists and wanted to end his life. I was wondering how come, with everything life has to offer, a young person did not want to live? After his operation I told him that the reconstruction went well and that we had fixed his hand. He started to cry and said, “You fixed my hand but who will fix my life?”  From then on I desired to dedicate my life in the mission to announcing the Gospel, to announcing to many sad lives and shouting out, “Young man, I tell you, get up!” Get up and live.

This is the mission of the Church: to shout out to the world the life and love of Christ. What a wonderful mission! Let us give thanks for the gift and task of mission. Each of us as Christians share in this mission of the Church. Let us be faithful to what God asks us… Amen.

13 oct. 2012

XXVIII Domingo T.O., REFLEXION Evangelio Semanal


Seguir a Cristo es abrirse a su mirada cariñosa
(P. Luis J. Tamayo)

Marcos 10, 17-30 Uno le preguntó a Jesús: «Maestro bueno, ¿qué haré para heredar la vida eterna?» Jesús le contestó: (…) Ya sabes los mandamientos: no matarás, no cometerás adulterio, no robarás, no darás falso testimonio, no estafarás, honra a tu padre y a tu madre.» Él replicó: «Maestro, todo eso lo he cumplido desde pequeño.» Jesús se le quedó mirando con cariño y le dijo: «Una cosa te falta: anda, vende lo que tienes, dale el dinero a los pobres, así tendrás un tesoro en el cielo, y luego sígueme.» A estas palabras, él frunció el ceño y se marchó pesaroso, porque era muy rico…
El gran salto que introduce Jesús en la fe del pueblo y que supuso un “antes y un después” fue presentar al Dios de los judíos como un Dios personal. La religión judía quedaba anclada en la ley de Moisés y se había convertido en la exigencia del ‘cumplimiento’ de un montón de preceptos, que en la medida que uno los observa daba la conciencia de salvación. Hoy día, para los judíos más ortodoxos sigue siendo así. Este es el gran salto que ofrecen las enseñanzas de Jesús, por eso se llamaron la Buena Noticia; por eso se dio el salto del Antiguo Testamento al Nuevo Testamento, de lo viejo y lo nuevo.
Jesús abre una nueva dimensión en la fe del pueblo: ya no es sólo la observancia de la Ley de Moisés sino también la ‘relación personal’ con Dios; no es sólo el ‘cumplimiento’ de los mandamientos sino también el ‘seguimiento’ de Cristo. Por eso Jesús dice: “no he venido a abolir la Ley, sino a darle plenitud.” (Mateo 5, 17-19).
Jesús lo muestra bien claro en el Evangelio de hoy en el diálogo con el joven. El muchacho aspira a una vida más plena, a una vida llena de sentido, a un corazón colmado; por eso en su búsqueda le pregunta: Maestro bueno, ¿qué haré para heredar la vida eterna?... ¿qué he de hacer para obtener una vida en abundancia y plenitud?. Jesús mira primero si cumple lo mínimo: Ya sabes los mandamientos: no matarás, no cometerás adulterio, no robarás, no darás falso testimonio, no estafarás, honra a tu padre y a tu madre.  A lo que el joven dice: «Maestro, todo eso lo he cumplido desde pequeño.
La historia continúa con la exigencia del amor verdadero: “Jesús se le quedó mirando con cariño y le dijo: Una cosa te falta: vende lo que tienes y sígueme!”. Si quieres un pleno sentido a tu vida, entra en una relación conmigo. No vivas sólo desde un cumplimiento de los mandamientos, sino en una amistad verdadera conmigo. Santa Teresa de Ávila dice: “Oración es tratar de amistad muchas veces y a solas con Aquel que sabemos nos ama”.
Lo que marca la distinción del 'cumplimento' al 'seguimiento' es que cuando uno vive en el seguimiento de Cristo uno siempre se encuentra la mirada de Cristo llena de cariño llamando a seguirle… -Cuando en situaciones quieres tirar la toalla, Él te mira con cariño y te dice: sígueme! No te quedes a mitad de camino. -Cuando te desanimas y no tienes fuerzas para amar, Él te mira con cariño y te dice: sígueme! Yo te doy la fuerza para que no dejes de amar. -Cuando no estás satisfecho con tu vida, Él te mira con cariño y te dice: sígueme! Yo te puedo llenar el corazón de alegría…
El joven responde haciendo énfasis de ‘su cumplimiento’ de los mandamientos de la Ley de Dios; subraya: “lo he cumplido”, y añade algo significativo cuando dice: lo he cumplido… ‘desde pequeño’. Jesús no se conforma con una vivencia infantil de la fe, ahora Jesús le va a pedir un salto a la madurez de la fe, le va a pedir crecer a una nueva forma de vivir la religión, del ‘cumplimento’ al ‘seguimiento’; Este es el gran salto que denota el paso de una fe infantil a una fe adulta: pasar del cumplimento de los mandamientos al seguimiento de Cristo.*
Seguir a Cristo es abrirse a su mirada y escuchar que Él te llama a vivir algo grande. Esta es la gran diferencia con el cumplimiento de unas normas, que las normas no tienen rostro, las normas no tienen una mirada cariñosa, sino que llevan el peso del juicio, pues cuando no cumples te sientes condenado. Sin embargo el seguimiento de un Dios vivo, lleva un rostro de amor y cariño que da pleno sentido a la vida.
Pregúntale a Jesús en tu oración: Maestro bueno ¿qué he de hacer para llenar mi vida de sentido? Y deja que Él te invite a seguirle: si ya cumples los mandamientos, da un paso más, entra en una verdadera relación de amistad conmigo. Ven y sígueme!
*(Palabras parecidas también las dice Jesús a Pedro en el Evangelio de Juan 21,15-19 Jesús le dijo: "Apacienta mis ovejas. Te aseguro que cuando eras joven, tú mismo te vestías e ibas a donde querías. Pero cuando seas viejo, extenderás tus brazos, y otro te atará y te llevará a donde no quieras". De esta manera, indicaba con qué muerte Pedro debía glorificar a Dios. Y después de hablar así, le dijo: "Sígueme".”; también, ésta, será una de las insistencias de San Pablo en 1Co 13,11: “Cuando yo era niño, hablaba como niño, pensaba como niño, razonaba como niño; pero cuando llegué a ser hombre, dejé las cosas de niño.”)

28th Sunday of Ordinary Time, REFLECTION Sunday´s Gospel,


Jesus looked at him and loved him
(fr. James McTavish)

Wis 7:7-11 Ps 90:12-13, 14-15, 16-17 Heb 4:12-13 Mark 10:17-30

Here in Manila the city has just survived severe flooding and most people’s lives are back to normal. Our community was helping in the distribution of relief goods. Hearing stories from those who had lost everything somehow puts many issues in perspective. One question I was asked was “If the flood waters were rising, you had to go to the roof and could take only one or two items, what would you take?” In reality many Filipinos were faced with this dilemma. There are many photos of elderly grandmothers on rooftops with only a statue of Mother Mary in their hand. In those moments you realize they are very few things that are essential. In some ways these situations foreshadow our death as what can we bring with us beyond? It is a reminder not to be too attached to material things.

What happens when we become too attached to money, comfort, eating so well, enjoying ourselves, good holidays - what is wrong with that? Well, when a life is full of leisure and easy living then the terrible flood of indifference soon floods our heart. Indifference kills and that is why we need the Gospel. Many think wrongly that they don’t need to pray. We need the Gospel to wake us up from our torpor. In the letter of Hebrews we hear, “Brothers and sisters: Indeed the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.”  Here the damage was caused by many preventable factors such as too many houses built in low areas and no money for proper irrigation because it is misused for other reasons. Even the Holy Father commented recently on these issues in his recent address to the new Philippines ambassador to the Vatican. The flood of corruption is a real problem in our world today.

Our life and our society would be different if we were to put Jesus in the centre. Pope John Paul II opened his first encyclical on Christ, the Redeemer of man with the words: “Jesus Christ, is the centre of the universe and of history” (Redemptor hominis #1). Let us consider what it might mean to put Jesus at the centre. Is Jesus at the centre of my life, of my decision making, of my thoughts? How would life be with him at the centre? For many, when they think of the Church, what seems to be at the centre are a set of tiring rules and regulations. Putting Jesus at the centre guarantees us of constancy and perseverance in our following. What can be tiring is not the following of the Lord but myself! In one moment I am full of fiery enthusiasm then later it seems that it has evaporated. One day I have an icy determination then later I find it has melted. We can seem to be more changeable than the weather. Putting Jesus at the centre is like having an anchor in life. In the catacombs Jesus is often presented as an anchor because an anchor gives stability to a ship in choppy seas and stops it being blown off course or onto dangerous rocks.

Recently I was involved in giving an 8 day retreat to a group of contemplative sisters who live in Lipa, outside of Manila. They are called Minim sisters, founded by St Francis of Paola. We enjoyed very much praying together about the life of St Paul and the need for conversion, a conversion to Christ. What helped me in the retreat is to constantly direct my gaze towards Jesus, in moments of joy and in moments of thinking my talks could have been much more insightful or inspiring! Come rain or shine, to share everything with my friend Jesus. This helps us to not just begin an initiative but to carry it through to the end and gives a certain stability in all weathers.

In the gospel today we see a rich young man in one moment running up to the Lord, full of enthusiasm, fire and energy with an important question for Jesus, asking him what he must do to be truly fulfilled. A few moments later the rich young man goes away sad. Why? Because Jesus said to him, “Go, sell what you have, and give it to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” At this the young man went away sad or as Mark the evangelist tells us: “his face fell and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.” And this is the sign of his richness – the fact that he goes away. What would be the secret? Stay in union with the Lord, don’t just throw in the towel when he asks us to take a step of maturity. Tell Jesus that I cannot do it without him. Often many people make a big song and dance about leaving everything for the Lord but everyone will have to do this one day! (I am referring to our funeral! Unless you want to be buried in what you are attached to, like your pink Cadillac as one American lady did).

Jesus asks the young man to grow up. To take a step of maturity. The rich young man ran up to the Lord and Jesus wants that he keep running! As many of the Saints attest, the way of holiness is forwards. St Bernard wrote, “On the way of life, not to progress is to regress” and Thomas Aquinas noted, “To stand on the way of the Lord is to move backwards.”  The Holy Spirit will guide us in the step we need to take. It is true many times we need to renounce and give things up like our useless anxiety or unnecessary worrying over material things, our indifference. I see many things in me I would like to leave behind – my tendency to worry and my fears, to name only a few! Of course the sacrament of reconciliation is a beautiful moment to leave behind what is useless and harmful to us – our sins.

What did the rich young man miss? What could he have done? He could have caught the loving gaze of Jesus. “Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, ‘You are lacking in one thing.’” What is that ONE thing? To catch Jesus looking at him, loving him. Then he would not have needed all his possessions to try to win the love of others. He would have realized the true richness – the love of Jesus. Have you caught that loving gaze of Christ? Often we catch the challenge to leave our attachment to material goods but did you first catch that gaze? When you catch that gaze, all else is put into perspective. Pope John Paul II said that the root cause of materialism is the absence of God’s love in the heart of man. We need that gaze to fill our hearts, a gaze that tells us who we are, and how much we are loved. It is a gaze that is unchanging, eternal and unconditional. I remember coming back home after failing my exams. I arrived at the cold, foggy station after a long train journey. I didn’t think anyone would meet me. At the station I was looking for a familiar face, to welcome me, to accept me but to no avail. And then I caught that gaze, a look of unconditional love, welcoming me even though I had been a lazy student. It was my dad standing at the end of the platform, looking at me, confirming my identity as a son and welcoming me unconditionally. We need to experience that gaze from God our Father. That he is looking at us, loving us, welcoming us. For this we need to pray, to listen to the Word of God to experience his love, to catch that gaze. From here we can respond. Our moral life, our option, our use of wealth can then be a response to this love. As Fr Arrupe S.J. wrote: “Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love and it will decide everything.

Perhaps the question from our Gospel this day is, have you caught that gaze? Perhaps this day in different moments, take a time out and catch that gaze, experience Jesus looking at you and loving you for who you are and not what you possess. Often this is what we lack to be happy and fulfilled – his loving gaze!

6 oct. 2012

XXVII Domingo T.O., REFLEXION Evangelio Semanal,


El AMOR, fundamento de la relación humana
(P. Luis J. Tamayo)

Marcos 10, 2-16:  En aquel tiempo, se acercaron unos fariseos y le preguntaron a Jesús, para ponerlo a prueba: «¿Le es lícito a un hombre divorciarse de su mujer?»
Él les replicó: «¿Qué os ha mandado Moisés?» Contestaron: «Moisés permitió divorciarse, dándole a la mujer un acta de repudio.»
Jesús les dijo: «Por vuestra terquedad dejó escrito Moisés este precepto. Al principio de la creación Dios "los creó hombre y mujer. Por eso abandonará el hombre a su padre y a su madre, se unirá a su mujer, y serán los dos una sola carne". De modo que ya no son dos, sino una sola carne. Lo que Dios ha unido, que no lo separe el hombre.» (…)

El Evangelio de hoy es bastante complicado de entender cuando en la sociedad que vivimos el divorcio, no sólo es lícito, sino que además es lo que con mayor naturalidad se publica en las revistas y programas del corazón. Una situación de dolor, traumática y de fracaso se ha banalizado tanto que se ha convertido en algo ‘normal’.
La pregunta que en ese momento le hacen los fariseos a Jesús es la misma pregunta que cualquier persona le hace hoy a la Iglesia: «¿Le es lícito a un hombre divorciarse de su mujer?». La pregunta, además, tanto ayer como hoy se hace en el mismo tono malicioso: “le preguntaron a Jesús, para ponerlo a prueba”, puesto lo que se pretende es justificar que la Iglesia está desfasada de la sociedad, vive a años luz de la situación de la realidad social, la Iglesia no avanza, no es moderna, es ‘carca’ y antigua…
Vamos a fijarnos como sale al paso Jesús. Él les pregunta primero sobre el ambiente legal del momento. «¿Qué os ha mandado Moisés?» Contestaron: «Moisés permitió divorciarse, dándole a la mujer un acta de repudio.» Los judíos vivían religiosa y políticamente anclados en la ley de Moisés y la ley permitía el divorcio en ciertos casos. Pero a continuación Jesús explica el por qué se permitía: Jesús les dijo: «Por vuestra terquedad dejó escrito Moisés este precepto.» Jesús deja bien claro que en la mayoría de los casos es por la terquedad humana que se llega a permitir el divorcio, no es por otra razón. Ahora la pregunta es ¿qué debe prevalecer: nuestra terquedad o nuestro sano juicio?
Jesús es demasiado brillante como para entrar en el juego simplista de la cuestión. La casuística particular no es la respuesta. Habrá casos muy delicados de ruptura que tendrán alguna justificación, pero la respuesta necesita de un principio base, de un fundamento.
Jesús, para responder va a dejar claro el fundamento del Amor, no se va a enredar en cosas secundarias o superfluas del asunto. Jesús se adentra en la raíz de la cuestión, por eso dice: “al principio”… al principio de la creación, al inicio de todo. Es como si dijera: vamos a la raíz de la cuestión, vamos al fundamento de la relación humana entre dos personas: “Al principio de la creación Dios "los creó hombre y mujer. Por eso abandonará el hombre a su padre y a su madre, se unirá a su mujer, y serán los dos una sola carne". De modo que ya no son dos, sino una sola carne. Lo que Dios ha unido, que no lo separe el hombre.” Jesús está hablando de que en el origen de la relación debe de estar el Amor de Dios, un Amor con mayúsculas, el verdadero amor que ama sin condiciones, sin peros, que es paciente, que no guarda rencor al otro, que se entrega en generosidad, que no pasa cuentas ni calcula lo que da para luego exigir a cambio (1 Co 13).
Al principio de una relación tiene que estar el gran AMOR que nace de Dios, que todo lo potencia, que hace las cosas nuevas, que perdona y da una segunda, tercera, cuarta y mil nuevas oportunidades (Lc 15). El Amor de Dios que renueva las fuerzas, que da la paciencia frente a las imperfecciones del otro, que anima, levanta y reconcilia (Jn 11,1-45). Un Amor que no es humano, que es divino, que limpia el corazón de tal forma que deja ver al cónyuge siempre con ojos nuevos, un amor que rejuvenece el cariño mutuo, que colma de alegría, que refresca el enamoramiento aún pasados 50 años de matrimonio. ¿Crees que este Amor existe? Yo si lo creo. Lo he visto en ancianos paseando por la calle cogidos de la mano, que los años no han hecho más que pulir el egoísmo de cada uno para dejarlos unidos en un amor fuerte. Lo he visto en mi vocación sacerdotal que después de 18 años de entrega a Dios, su Amor es aún capaz de levantarme en las dificultades, su Amor me ayuda a ilusionarme por el proyecto de levantar una nueva parroquia, su Amor me da la alegría para enfrentar cada día… es sólo su misericordia lo que me sostiene día a día.
Una vez que conoces esta clase de AMOR, la pregunta ya no es: «¿Le es lícito a un hombre divorciarse de su mujer?»  sino, ¿es licito casarse sin sostener ese proyecto en el Amor de Dios?, ¿crees que merece la pena apostar por un proyecto como el matrimonio sin estar sostenido en el Amor de Dios? 

27th Sunday of Ordinary Time, REFLECTION Sunday´s Gospel


The two shall become one to become three
(Fr. James McTavish)

Gen 2:18-24 Ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6 Heb 2:9-11 Mark 10:2-16

A husband was talking to his wife. He said, “After putting up with you all these years I should be proclaimed a Saint.” “And I, a martyr!” responded his wife. Today’s readings talk about the beautiful institution of marriage, where God deigned that “the two become one flesh” or as one modern author noted, bearing in mind that the usual fruit of love is life, “the two shall become one to become three.” The fruit of love is life - that is where no artificial blocks are placed between love and life. Bonding usually results in babies except in a world where contraception means we want a bonding without babies and IVF gives us babies without bonding.

In general, “it is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). After God had made woman, man made that famous exclamation of admiration and beauty: “This one is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” Maybe for the modern fan of Barbara Cartland, this does not sound too romantic. But it is the Hebrew equivalent of saying “Wow, she is gorgeous and the one for me!” Bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh means someone who is intimately related to me, literally a part of my very being who I want to be with me as long as I am in existence. This introduces us into the notion of the marriage bond and covenant where the man and woman leave their mother and father and become one flesh.

Nowadays it seems quite easy to become one flesh with whomsoever you fancy. What a sad situation when what is presented as “normal” is in fact rather abnormal. Sex is sold as a commodity, precocious sexuality is encouraged - dear oh dear where are we going? Sexuality is a precious gift but also quite a powerful one. It is like a strong flowing river. If the river is directed in the right way it can generate much life, giving oxygen to fish and aquatic life, nourishing plants and trees served by it and providing invaluable water for local residents to drink or bathe with. When our sexuality is well-oriented it generates much life. However when the banks of the river break chaos ensues. Here in Manila the banks of the Marikina River burst. The river which previously gave life turned into a killer. Houses, cars and even human lives were swept away like leaves. Human sexuality, when it is disordered and not used according to its ultimate purpose, destroys lives. You only have to listen to those who have engaged in adultery to discover the chaos they have caused and the brokenness they feel.

The sacramental bond of marriage gives strength to the union between man and woman. Some do not believe in the sacrament anymore. Perhaps they have lost faith in love itself. But the sacramental bond gives strength and unity to the marriage. How beautiful the testimony of fruitful married love when it is correctly understood and lived out. As Jesus said, “Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate." Mutual respect, dialogue and of course forgiveness help so much. To be able to say “I am sorry.” Only three words... but not so easy to say sometimes. Faithful married love is a concrete sign of God’s faithful love for the world of today. Faithful love is always fruitful. Even infertility is not a barrier to fruitfulness. True love will bear fruit in front of all obstacles. Like a couple I know who could not have children of their own but their love bears the fruit of joy in all they meet. Even the physical infertility could not stop them bearing fruit in the form of adopting a beautiful child. Truly it is selfishness and pride that often makes love sterile.

And children themselves can do much to help the environment in the household. Before when I was working I would give material goods to my family as a sign of my love for them. But now as a missionary priest I have no money! They have to help me and they are so kind and generous. But what I give my family now is the love of Christ. This is a gift that is not just for Christmas but for the whole of eternity!

We close by praying for all the families in the world of today. I pray that all families can live out their wonderful mission to bring God’s life and love to the world. I know one family here in Manila and the whole family is dedicated to this mission. The dad is thinking how to bring more people to know Christ through golf and business, the mum helps out preaching the Word of God and their children are not merely concerned with the usual college student worries but are trying to reach out to many youth who are a bit lost. Hurray for the great Christian example of this family and may they inspire many more to do the same. Amen.