Written on 18 April 2016, 18.59 by Gene C. Alberto

Are Catholics ‘born again’?
This language echoes the words of Jesus, who tells Nicodemus: “No one can see the Kingdom of God without being born from above” (or “born again”).

Nicodemus is puzzled.  “How,” he asks, “can a person once grown old be born again?  Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?”  (Jn 3:4).

Jesus reply to Nicodemus is critical for understanding what it means to be “born again”:  “I say to you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and spirit (Jn 3:5; emphasis added).  The event described here is not, as some Christian insist, an initial profession of faith in Christ.  Rather, it refers to the Sacrament of Baptism, when the person is washed with water and receives the Spirit.  Later, preaching on Pentecost, St. Peter confirms that those who are baptized receive the Spirit (see Acts 2:28).

The new birth, which is the beginning of new life in Christ, must come about after death of the “old self” (Rom 6:6) – That is, the unredeemed nature burdened by original sin.  The person who “dies,” is absolved from sin (Rom 6:7).


How does this death, leading to new life, come about?
Through the absolution of sins in Baptism, “Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were indeed buried with Him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father, we too might live in newness of life (Rom 6:3-4).

To be “born again,” then, is to be baptized.  In this sacrament, through “water and spirit,” the soul is washed clean, the “old self” is buried and the new life in Christ begins. ...

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JOCKEYING FOR POSITIONS

With elections coming up in a few weeks, candidates for various positions believe that winning the election, by whatever means, is the most important thing in the world.  There are so many power-hungry candidates today who resort to backstabbing, smear campaign, even violence to get the position they want.  And once in position, they inflict their atrocities on the people to keep their position.

In choosing leaders, we should carefully study and match the traits of candidates with the needs and issues diabling our country today.  Our country still remained mired in poverty and ignorance.

What the Philippines needs at this time is not simply popularity in poll surveys, but ethical moral and sincere leadership – if we want a government we can really be proud of, one that is good and reliable because the high officials are themselves upright and competent, honest and dedicated.  It has always been said, we get the government we deserve because the people themselves choose their elected officials who will lead them.  And most of the time, citizens do not use their best judgment in choosing their leaders.

Here are some guidelines for voters based on the criteria of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines:

I.    LEADERSHIP
Does he lead and inspire his constituents? 
Is he responsible and has the ability to make decisions?

II.    COMPETENCE
Does he have good knowledge of all the demands of the position? 
Does he have know-how in economics, with preference for the poor?
Does he have the know-how in foreign policies in case of external conflict?

III.    ROLE MODEL
Does he have a good track record, not marred by scandal, graft and corruption?
Is he a good family man?
Is he clean, honest and fair?
Is he of good moral character?

IV.    PERSONAL COMMITMENT TO DEMOCRATIC PROCESS
Is he a stanch fighter for democracy?
Is he loyal to his country?
Is he protector of the oppressed?
Is he concerned for the common good?

V.    PRO LIFE
“To be Pro-Life is to defend and promote life, to show reverence and love for it, task which God entrusts to every man…” Pope John Paul II
Does he advocate life and fight anti-life policies?
Is he anti-death penalty?
Is he an anti-human right violation?
Is he anti-unfair labor practices?

VI.    PRO-FAMILY
Does he believe in preservation of family as the basic unit of society?
Is he true and faithful to marriage?
Is he open to new life as God’s procreator, responsibly caring and educating the children brought into the world?

VII.    PRO-ENVIRONMENT
Does he protect and take care of his surroundings and the world in which he lives, most especially the womb, which is the first and most important environment?

On May 9, let us help make the election clean and thereby make a redemptive contribution to society.  The time to become an educated voter is now, by being responsible and wise as leaders in our own right.














 

HE IS RISEN

Jesus lives, I know it is true.  There are testimonies to the resurrection of Jesus.  And the testimonies are simple and straightforward.  He is risen.  He was raised on the third day.

As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.  But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.  He has been raised; He is not here.  Look, there is the place they laid him.’ (Mk 16:5-6)

Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, and He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and He appeared to the twelve. (1 Cor 15:3-5)

They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was talking to us on the road, while He was opening the scriptures to us? (Lk 24:32)

We are witnesses to all that He did.  They put Him to death by hanging on a cross; but God raised Him on the third day.  He allowed Him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead. (Acts 10:39-41)

The Testimony of Christ’s Resurrection can also be personal and deep.  Our Lord ardently desire the world free from evil, a world of peace and joy.  Deep in my heart I want to help Him change the world in my little way.

I am going to sow Jesus’ peace in my family, in our community.  Though the world presents to us selfishness and carnality, though it scorns justice and charity, though it mocks at the thought of working and living for Christ, I will stand firm.

I will always look for joy.  Rejoice in the sunlight which God warms me.  Rejoice, in the green hills in the country side, the cooling of the rain, the breeze by the bay.  Rejoice in good books, good thoughts, good friends.  Rejoice and be happy in our Lord’s peace and great mercy.

I’ll be a peacemaker, a positive force for tranquility, harmony and love.

I will love my fellow men.  Even the thief who has stolen from me, the gossip who has disparaged me.  I know it is much harder to love them than it is to love my far away “enemies,” such as the terrorist, the radical, the political lawbreaker.

I know I am going to make Our Lord happy, if I would show my love for all men by doing my best to bring them into the Church and to make their oneness with Christ close and lasting.
I will bring them to Jesus by cheerfulness, helplessness, generosity, and spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

All this will sow joy.  It will spread God’s peace through the members of my family, my neighbors, my community. What a life of adventure this is to which the Risen Christ called me personally.

The next stage in my development is a ray of light that comes from Easter Sunday…a new life, a new beginning where each day will rouse to a new world.  Jesus did not just die, He also rose.  The Jesus of my life began to resemble crucifixes in many churches: on the cross hung no longer the suffering Jesus but the glorious Christ.  More joy is infused into my spiritual life.  More of the virtue of hope.

May the risen Lord binds us together, to share His Resurrection.

 

THE PASSION as Seen by Mary

The Blessed Virgin was able to see everything that happened to her Son during His Passion.  She was able to cooperate with Him in His redeeming suffering for mankind.

As Jesus began to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane, His mother was praying to the Father that she might be allowed to feel all the loving sacrifice which her Son was about to undergo. She also prayed for the Apostles as they fear of their lives.  In this dark hour of her Son’s arrest, when His closest followers abandoned Him, Mary united in her heart all the faith and holiness and worship of the Mystical Body of Christ.

When the soldiers arrested Jesus, Mary felt in her delicate body all the blows and kicks and falls which He suffered while being dragged like an animal in the streets of Jerusalem.

The Blessed Virgin endured it all in silence.  Then at a sharp turn in the street she saw her Son staggering along carrying the weight of a heavy cross, his body covered with bruises, blood, and sweat constantly being jerked forward by ropes which the merciless guards held.  Then they put a crown of thorns on His bleeding head.  For a second Mary was so shocked that she gasped:

“Is this my Son?  O Jesus, my Jesus!”  And when He passed close to her, with His bloody, deep-sunken eyes, He cast a look of intense compassion at His suffering Mother.  Then, utterly exhausted, He fell onto His hands and knees under the cross.

In her anguish, Mary threw herself onto her knees to reach out for her Son, but the soldiers shouted order, while John and the Holy Women tried to draw Mary back.

When the Savior reached Calvary, Mary half-fainted when she saw there all the instruments prepared for His death.  He was ordered to take off His robe and immediately did so.  He lay down on His back on the cross and stretched out His right arm.  Then His executioners attached it to the beam and drove the nail through His hand.  Then they pulled His other hand in the opposite direction and nailed it down the same way.  Next they nailed His right foot, and over it the left, so that all the nerves and veins were torn apart and broken.  Her anguish was so bitter that Mary could not look up again until Her Son was completely attached to the cross.  She tried to pull herself together and stood at the foot of the cross with John and the holy women.

While He was hanging there, bleeding and pierced with nails He had so much compassion for His Mother’s suffering as she stood near Him sobbing.  With His blood-filled eyes, He looked down at John and commended her to his care.  His eyes appeared half-dead, His cheeks sunken in, and His features grief sunken.  His mouth was open and His tongue was covered with blood.  His abdomen had fallen in toward His spine and seemed to have collapsed.  His whole body was pale and weaken from continuous loss of blood.

While He was hanging there so torn and livid, only His heart was still vigorous, for it was the best and strongest quality.  Then in the excessive anguish of His humanity He cried to His Father:
“Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit!”

And after He said it, a man came up and drove a spear so forcefully into His side.  When Mary saw that her Son had been stabbed through, she felt that her own heart was likewise pierced and it was a wonder that it did not break.

Then they brought Him down from the cross and laid Him out on clean linen, and with her mantel, Mary washed His wounds and His limbs, and with her finger she closed His eyes and His mouth, which were open when He died.  Then they placed Him in the tomb.

“Oh, how gladly would I have allowed them to entomb me alive with my Son,
if it had been His will!  I can truly say that when my Son was entombed, there
were two hearts in one sepulcher.  Is there not a saying:  Where your treasure
is, there is your heart?  Therefore, my thoughts and my heart were always in
the Tomb of my Son.

So you see, my sons and daughters, what my Son suffered for you.  And so it
will not be hard for you to give up the world.”


Sources:
•    Madonna of Nazareth  by Rev. Draugelis, S.J.
•    The Lowly Life and Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother
by Rev. C. E. Schmoeger, CSR
•    Life and Passion of our Lord and the Life of His Blessed Mother
by St. Bridget of Sweden

 

Sunday Mass Schedule Effective March 2011

6:30am - Filipino
8:00am - English
9:30am - English
11:00am - English

12:15n.n - English

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5:00pm - English
6:30pm - English
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