One responsibility entrusted to me as Associate Pastor at St. Theresa in Phoenix was the Marriage Preparation or Pre-Cana Program. I did it for four (4) years, and in those years, I had at least one couple; when asked to sign up for the program, was hesitant and questioned the rationality of preparing for marriage when they already love each other and had known each other for many years. I explained to them that whether they are aware of it or not, they are being prepared for marriage by the secular world. Mass media, print, and social media often highlight broken relationships, infidelities, divorces, and separations as an expected occurrence - couples are continuously being taught erroneous ideas and values about marriage.READ MORE
The word ADVENT means coming – the Coming of Christ – but not the coming with His birth on Christmas. Going through the readings reveals His Second Coming. Jesus says that the day of His arrival is a mystery known only to the Father. Seers and self-proclaimed prophets, or safe to say that no human being knows this, no spiritual beings like the angels, even the Son of Man, have to wait on the Father to reveal when this is to take place.READ MORE
King Saul was the first king of Israel; though the prophet Samuel was not enthusiastic about anointing one for them, he acceded to their clamor. The prophet knew that although this benefited the people, he forewarned them that a king would demand loyalty and service (like God) from his subjects. The warning proved true when the kings of Israel eventually became rivals of Yahweh, more concerned with enriching themselves; of their status and glory than leading people to be God fearing.READ MORE
The historian Josephus agrees with the people during his time about the beauty of the temple. He writes: No one except Herod the Great adorned it better - that made the Jews proud of their temple. The massive white stones made it appear (from a distance) like a mountain covered by snow. Gold covers the façade of the sanctuary, and the entrance – is adorned with golden vines for votive offerings; gifts of golden grape clusters dedicated to God draped it.READ MORE
Whom are these Sadducees the Gospel mentions today? The Sadducees were the priestly aristocrats centered in Jerusalem. They accepted as scripture only the first five books of the Old Testament, followed only the letter of the law, rejected the oral legal traditions, and were opposed to teachings not found in the Pentateuch, such as the resurrection of the dead. The Sadducees, often confused with the Pharisees, originated in the 2nd century BC. The main difference is Pharisees’ trademark strict adherence to the Torah, or the Law of Moses, which includes the written and oral traditions. The scribes and the expert of the law predominantly belong to this group.READ MORE
Accepting the hospitality of Zacchaeus, Jesus uses the opportunity to affirm the change of heart of a tax collector: Today, salvation has come to this house! Has salvation come to our house, or better to our soul? For some, it has already come; for many others, it is coming. But hopefully, for many more, it is coming soon. The encounter between the two happens because ZacchaeusREAD MORE
There are two main characters in the Gospel, the Pharisee, and the tax collector. The Pharisees were lay leaders known to promote strict adherence to the Torah or the Law of Moses. In Jesus’ time, they were respected and called Rabbi, which means, Teacher. The name came from the Hebrew word perusim or separated ones. Because of their learnings, they separated themselves from the ordinary people who do not know the Law. And to a higher degree, from tax collectors, publicans, or sinners.READ MORE
Persistent prayer is necessary. Persistence does not necessarily mean long, unending prayer but heartfelt and confident prayer. In other words, it is not so much the quantity but the quality of our prayers that attract the attention of God, His mercy, and compassion. It is wrong to think that we can force God to take action in our favor because of our prayers. Remember that God is in control, that is, only He calls the shot. We can only
pray: Jesus, we trust in You!
Today, Jesus teaches us the value of gratitude and how often we forget or take it for granted. It hurts to admit: How often do we focus on what is missing; and forget to thank God for our blessings?
One of the best attitudes we can develop is gratitude. Let us be grateful for everything and everyone in our life. Blessed those who make it a practice to say: Thank you, Lord! For everything that life has given, or is giving us, the good or bad, the happiness and sadness, and still free from regrets, worries, fears, and hopelessness. “With gratitude, we shift to a higher frequency, which attracts better things.”READ MORE