Msgr. Sabino Vengco Jr.

355 posts
Msgr. Sabino Azurin Vengco, Jr., SThD, is a priest of the Diocese of Malolos, hailing from Hagonoy, Bulacan. His more than fifty years of priestly life and ministry has been focused on teaching the faith in various theological faculties and also on mass media, and in looking after the welfare of elderly and sick Filipino priests nationwide.
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‘Proclaim the gospel to every creature’

The Ascension of Jesus Christ into the Father’s eternal glory was not the end of the Savior’s direct and personal involvement with our salvation. Rather a new chapter was opened in the on-going mission of leading humankind back to the love of the God, henceforth with the followers of Jesus as evangelizers proclaiming the gospel to the whole world (Mark 16:15-20).

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 A community of friends

The union between Jesus and His followers is not a hierarchy of power, but a flowering of friendship and love (John 15:9-17). The full import of the allegorical metaphor of the vine and its branches is here interpreted through an ecclesiology of love.

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Heroic leadership

Every year for the Fourth Sunday of Easter, the gospel text is taken from Chapter 10 of John, the discourse on the good shepherd. Our reading for Year B (John 10:11-18) is an interpretation of the short parable about the sheep who are called by name and who follow their shepherd whom they recognize.

Dynamics of Easter faith

AS narrated by St. Luke (24:35-48), the appearance of the risen Jesus to the two disciples on their way to Emmaus contains certain features that are emphatically repeated a little later to the main body of the disciples as Jesus appeared to them gathered in Jerusalem: reflection on sacred Scriptures, eating, and setting forth to proclaim the good news. Thus the dynamics of our Easter faith is clarified and established for us by the evangelist.

The wounds of the risen Lord

The gospel reading (John 20:19-31) for the Second Sunday of Easter is repeated every year. Narrating two appearances by the risen Christ, the text gives the fulfillment of all his promises to his disciples: his abiding presence, the gift of the Holy Spirit, forgiveness of sin, peace, and eternal life. The fourth gospel merges into one event Jesus’ resurrection, ascension, the gifting with the Spirit, and the send-off on mission.

In the light of the resurrection

Our Easter gospel narration (John 20:1-9) tells us that our faith in the risen Christ enables us to interpret the contradiction of the cross in our life as Christians. The resurrection is central to our life of faith, and we are called to an ongoing and profound recognition of this mystery in our daily life.

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Dynamics of Easter faith

AS narrated by St. Luke (24:35-48), the appearance of the risen Jesus to the two disciples on their way to Emmaus contains certain features that are emphatically repeated a little later to the main body of the disciples as Jesus appeared to them gathered in Jerusalem: reflection on sacred Scriptures, eating, and setting forth to proclaim the good news. Thus the dynamics of our Easter faith is clarified and established for us by the evangelist.

Column box-Msgr. Sabino A. Vengco Jr

The wounds of the risen Lord

The gospel reading (John 20:19-31) for the Second Sunday of Easter is repeated every year. Narrating two appearances by the risen Christ, the text gives the fulfillment of all his promises to his disciples: his abiding presence, the gift of the Holy Spirit, forgiveness of sin, peace, and eternal life. The fourth gospel merges into one event Jesus’ resurrection, ascension, the gifting with the Spirit, and the send-off on mission.

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The victorious rejected King

AS our gospel reading for Passion or Palm Sunday, St. Mark’s long passion narrative (14:1-15:47) appears to have been fashioned by him before anything else and supplemented only with the accounts of Jesus’ ministry. Its apologetics and Christological motifs stand out.

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To die like a grain of wheat

Alálaong bagá, the true follower of Jesus does exactly that—follow Jesus in dying like a grain of wheat. It is to believe and live accordingly in the paradox of Jesus’ “lifted up” in ignominy and in glory, where to die is to become more, while not to die is to be condemned to being nothing. To love God above all and to love others as oneself, we have to learn to “hate” our life in this world and be ready to give it up for what is really greater, so that we all can be lifted up to the life that is truly eternal.
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For us, lifted up and given

The mystery of God’s salvific love for us in Jesus Christ is dramatized when he was lifted up on the cross and given by the Father, so that whoever believes in him will not be condemned (John 3:14-21). For those who look up to Jesus on the cross with faith have in fact eternal life.

Cleansing the temple

For John (2:13-25), the cleansing of the temple in Jerusalem by Jesus was such a fundamental statement by Him that it deserved to be located theologically at the beginning of His public ministry, unlike the other evangelists who placed the event chronologically towards the conclusion of Jesus’ public activity. It was a dramatic announcement that Israel’s messianic expectations have been fulfilled.

Transfigured and irreplaceable

IF the stay of Jesus in the desert for 40 days being tempted by Satan represents the relentless struggle between good and evil in the world, His mountain top transfiguration stands for the glory that awaits one who remains faithful (Mark 9:2-10).

It is time!

Lent is our journey of 40 days (Kuwaresma) toward Easter. The first Lenten Sunday starts us off with the bone-bare narration about Jesus’ sojourn in the desert and his inaugural victory over Satan and the gist of his good news to the people that it is time already for the reign of God (Mark 1:12-15).

Healed and witnessing

The gospel account of the leper healed by Jesus (Mark 1:40-45) presents a picture of what we as Christians should be as reborn and reconciled believers. In our on-going meditation on Jesus Christ, we discover that it is in his power and in his compassion that we find our salvation.

The Kerygmatic Jesus

The gospel narration of a typical day in the public ministry of Jesus portrays Him as gospel-driven messiah, focused on proclaiming to everyone the message of salvation (Mark 1:29-39). He derived His kerygmatic orientation from His prayer-intimacy with His heavenly Father.

Mighty Word

The story of the man with an unclean spirit coming into Jesus’ presence and being liberated from the evil possession at his mighty word (Mark 1:21-28) reflects the situation each believer should hope to undergo. It tells us too of the conviction we as a people need, that God’s Word is a necessary, potent factor in our collective conversion and renewal.

The old imperative

The start of the Ordinary Time in our liturgical calendar early in the new year indicates the refocusing of our attention to the essence of Christian life in the light of faith. We concentrate again on the old call of Jesus Christ to redirect ourselves to the Gospel (Mark 1:14-20). The sights and sounds of daily existence for us Filipinos, with 500 years of Christianity to our name, make indisputable the need for transformation and renewal.

What the little ones tell us

A feast proper to the Philippines is our celebration of the Santo Niño every third Sunday of January. Jesus as a little child images to us divine love for the little ones (Mark 10:13-16). As a child is a promise for tomorrow and an opportunity for today, the Santo Niño is a challenge for us now as well as a glimpse of our future.

‘You are my beloved Son’

The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord draws us to the close of the Christmas cycle. The incarnate Son of God born of a woman is divinely affirmed as the beloved Son with whom the eternal Father is well pleased (Mark 1:7-11). At his baptism the messianic identity of Jesus is established and manifested.

The new power in the world

IT is with the solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, popularly known as the feast of the Three Kings, that we commemorate the visit of the Magi to the Baby Jesus as the glorious manifestation of God to all the peoples of the world (Matthew 2:1-12). This self-revelation (epiphania in Greek or pagpapakita in Pilipino) of the Savior was already a most important feast in the East, long before Christians in the West introduced the celebration of Christmas.

Joining the shepherds

The dawn Mass on Christmas day used to be referred to as the Shepherds’ Mass, because the Gospel reading narrates the visit of the shepherds to the newborn Jesus (Luke 2:15-20). These shepherds symbolize early on the people who have been transformed into believers and who in the midst of the hardships of life proclaim the glory to God.

Full of grace

The fourth and last Sunday of Advent, immediately before Christmas, focuses our attention on Mary, the mother of the Child to be born, our Savior Incarnate. She represents to us the salvation from God that the birth of the Messiah brings about and the receptiveness that God’s people in response to the divine initiative must demonstrate (Luke 1:26-38).

A witness in truth

The Third Sunday of Advent is defined by the antiphon: “Rejoice! The Lord is near.” Thus, its name Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday. That we may experience the joy of salvation, John the Baptizer prepares us for the coming of the Lord by his truthful witnessing to the Savior (John 1:6-8, 19-28).

Models wanted

Waiting is never in abstraction; oftentimes there are persons who somehow personify what lies in prospect and so exemplify what needs to be done. Such forerunner or precursor is John the Baptizer in connection with the coming of Jesus Christ that humanity in Advent is looking forward to and clearly must prepare for (Mark 1:1-8).

Waiting patiently and on edge

The first Sunday of Advent starts our new liturgical calendar for Year B in the three-year cycle of meditating on the Word of God. It is a season of faith, as we are led to focus on the coming of the Lord and of the reign of God. We live in patient expectation, waiting on edge (Mark 13:33-37).

King for the little ones

Closing our liturgical calendar is the solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ as the King of the Universe. He is proclaimed as our irreplaceable Savior-King because He established the reign of God in the world, even as we pray that we be able to live by His Gospel and so be welcomed to the eternal joy of His kingdom (Matthew 25:31-46).

The responsible stewards

The coming of Christ at the end of time entails on the part of each of us a reckoning of what we have done with all the gifts and opportunities given us in our lifetime. The parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) illustrates the joy accompanying the final accounting of responsible stewards.

The wise bridal maids

AS we approach the closing of the liturgical year, the unpredictable coming of the Lord at the end of time is something we must be ready for in active watchfulness like the wise bridal maids did (Matthew 25:1-13).

Wanted: Servant leaders

IS our religion vain ostentation or sincere practice? The tirade against the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23:1-12) is not only relevant during the conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees, or as a challenge to the early Christian community, but also for us today. Are we in fact today “the Pharisees”?

Familiar but ever challenging

The basic principle Jesus stood for in confrontation with his critics is the ground rule of Judaism and Christianity: the love of God and the love of neighbor (Matthew 22:34-40), an episode retold seven times in our Lectionary. This greatest and most familiar commandment of God needs to be recalled into actual practice if our faith is not to be a caricature.

What is God’s, do not give to Caesar

IN confrontation with his critics, Jesus answers the trap-question: “Is it lawful to pay census tax to Caesar or not?” (Matthew 22:15-21). For those really searching for the truth, honesty is needed to find the interconnection and balance between the spiritual and social realms.

The insolent wedding guest

The deceptive disobedient son, then the greedy killer caretakers, and now the contrary and insolent wedding guest (Matthew 22:1-14), all illustrate to us the fundamental rule that we shall be judged by our Lord on the basis of our deeds and actions. Our life and practice must harmonize with our faith.

The killer caretakers

What Jesus in His time intended for the ears of the chief priests and Pharisees, and which the evangelist in turn directed to the attention of His Christian community and their leaders, now apply to us in our own times and circumstances—the parable of the greedy and murderous caretakers (Matthew 21:33-43).

‘The last as first and the first as last’

Life in our communities of faith eventually reveals the big difference between what we think is proper and what God thinks and does. The gospel parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16) shows that our way of thinking is not God’s way, which we should appreciate more and more, and imitate. 

A communion built on mercy

Last Sunday we reflected on the community of believers’ uncompromising stand against sin even as we were reminded of our responsibility to be there for one another in our struggle to overcome evil. On the note that a caring community must be a praying community, we realize next that our readiness to forgive one another is necessary to maintain our communion with God and with one another (Matthew 18:21-35).

We are each other’s keepers

AS a communion of believers in Christ, we have our community rules of life. Fraternal correction and communal prayer are two basic concretizations of our responsibility for one another particularly in the context of the reality of sin among us (Matthew 18:15-20).

A faith that must serve

These next two Sundays we shall meditate on Peter’s ministry as Jesus’ chosen servant for a special task in the service of the Church. Two Sundays back in the story of the Lord walking on the stormy sea, we saw Peter typifying the disciples’ faith, daring but doubting and needing the outstretched hand of Jesus. Now, in speaking out the faith of the disciples in Jesus, Peter receives from Him an unexpected responsibility in the community of faith (Matthew 16:13-20).

Do not be afraid!

WE need to have real faith in Jesus as we try to live up to our tasks in this world. For we are asked to cross to the other side of the sea and on a boat buffeted by waves and with opposing winds, and to do what Jesus does (Matthew 14:22-33).

Blessed, broken and shared

Following the Sundays focused on the kingdom of heaven as illustrated in the parables, we now turn our attention to the community of disciples, the Church, being formed by Jesus. Faith in Jesus is our present theme, the teacher who feeds the multitude with the multiplication of bread (Matthew 14:13-21).

The most precious

The twofold parable of the treasure found in a field and of the invaluable pearl discovered by a merchant plus the parable of the net filled with good and bad fish, round up three Sundays of comparison for the kingdom of God, teaching us as much about God’s reign as about ourselves (Matthew 13:43-52).

The compassionate Lord

WE have been told by Jesus not to be afraid however daunting our task seems to be, and also to be totally committed to Him so that we love no one more than Him. This is because in Him we the little ones have the Lord who is gentle and humble of heart (Matthew 11:25-30).

Total commitment

The discourse of Jesus on the cost of discipleship, or on the mission His disciples share from and with Him, details fundamentally the detachment they must have from everything else and the total commitment to Him demanded of them (Matthew 10:37-42). The love of Jesus Christ must come before all else and must be the basis of all else.

Fear not

The mission of mercy on which Jesus sent His apostles, then as now, tests and develops the faith of His followers (Matthew 10:26-33). We need to meditate on the cost of discipleship and the risk inherent in living the Gospel in the midst of the world.

The Food from Heaven

Our spiritual growth and development, the focus of the Ordinary Time in our Liturgical Year, gets an initial boost in the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, Christ’s Body and Blood as our extraordinary sustenance. The gospel text (John 6:51-58) gives us a portion of the “Bread of Life Discourse” in the Fourth Gospel about the primacy and significance of Jesus Christ in the life of the world.

The Father and the Son and us

Our liturgical calendar’s period of the Ordinary Time following the Easter Season is launched within the context of the mystery of the Triune God. Our salvation rests on the love of the Father expressed in and through the Son. The gospel narration (John 3:16-18) invites us to listen in at the personal reflections of the evangelist after the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus.

In the power of the Holy Spirit

AS the finale to our celebration of Easter, Pentecost 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus focuses on the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles. The gospel account (John 20:19-23) powerfully summarizes the meaning of the coming of the Spirit upon us all, leading to the birth of the Church.

I am with you always

To enable the faithful to participate in the celebration of Jesus’ Ascension to heaven, the solemnity is held in the Philippines on Sunday (the Seventh Sunday of Easter) instead of exactly on the 40th day after Easter. The departure of Jesus from the company of His followers does not mean separation or abandonment; He remains with His own even to the end of the world with all power in heaven and on Earth (Matthew 28:16-20).

You in me and me in you

Going deeper into the meaning of our life of faith in the risen Jesus, we are next led to reflect that our communion with the Lord is based on a Trinitarian interrelationship that we must share in and live by and bear witness to in our fidelity to His commandments (John 14:15-21).

Via, Veritas, Vita

IN the light of Easter, sayings of Jesus heard earlier become clear in their full meaning. In our gospel text (John 14:1-12), things Jesus is narrated to have said just before His passion in the beginning of the so-called Last Discourse now reveal their real import to His followers when meditated upon in the context of the Paschal victory.

The Shepherd-gate

Traditionally known as “Good Shepherd Sunday,” the Fourth Sunday of Easter portrays Jesus in His mission as both the Shepherd of the flock and the gate of the sheepfold (John 10:1-10), ensuring the welfare of the sheep. He has come that they may have life and have it in its fullness, a life of communion with God.

Present and recognized

Luke’s account about the appearance of the risen Jesus to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (24:13-35) is his powerful statement on the meaning and implications of the resurrection of our Lord. The issues covered are the apostles’ experience of seeing Jesus risen as the basis for the faith of others, the needs and responsibilities of believers, and the necessary encounter with the glorious Lord now being available to all.

Our Easter faith and the divine mercy

Every year the Sunday following Easter has the same gospel account of the appearance of the risen Jesus to His disciples (John 20:19-31). Paradigmatic for us is the way the followers of Jesus, to carry out their mission to the world, have to move on from seeing to believing, even as the divine mercy (which gives the title to this Sunday since 2000) envelops humanity.

The tomb emptied by the risen Lord

The gospel text (Matthew 28:1-10), which is not a report of the resurrection itself of Jesus, details however some of the circumstances that surrounded His resurrection. In a way, they complete our reflections on the meaning of Christ’s Passover as the foundation of our own sharing in the Paschal Mystery.

The mystery of the Passion of Jesus

The Holy Week (Semana Santa) begins with the Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, which takes us into an extended meditation on the passion and death of Jesus Christ. Saint Matthew’s account (26:14-27:66) presents Him as the Messiah according to the testimony of Sacred Scriptures and as the redeemer of all humankind. Meditating on the Passion of Jesus is vital for Christians because the Passion inaugurates our New Covenant with God.

Through death to life

The last of the seven signs in the gospel according to John is the raising of Lazarus (John 11:1-45), signs that glorify the Father as they intimate the true identity of, and enkindle faith in, Jesus. The raising of Lazarus as a theophany points to the mission of Jesus, whose glory is the conquest of death with eternal life-giving love.

Reborn in the Light

ON our way to Easter and our baptismal renewal in connection with it, we are invited to meditate on the miracle of Jesus opening the eyes of a man born blind (John 9:1-41). The significance of the incident lies for us in the reactions, provoked by the miracle, that amount to an illustrated discourse on the journey toward faith as a person discovers Jesus as the light of the world.

The indispensable water

For the next three Sundays of Lent, Saint John provides the gospel narratives proper to catechumenal initiation and important to the renewal of our baptismal vocation. In our Lenten pilgrimage, we now pause with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well to reflect on Jesus Christ’s irreplaceable role for our salvation (John 4:5-42).

The road to Easter

Following the tensions of the temptations in the desert, we are led by the Church to another corner of the wilderness, the mountain top, to contemplate Jesus in glory (Matthew 17:1-9), and thus be enabled to take on the trials we are to bear on the road to Easter.

Desert survival

Each year at the start of the Lenten season, we are led to the desert to undergo a survival course with Jesus. The narration of the temptation in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11) shows us that to be tempted is human, but to overcome temptation is Christian.

The standard of true Christians

Continuing our reflections of last week on His instruction to His disciples on how to really belong in God’s kingdom, Jesus goes next into non-retaliation and universal love as concretizing their manner of being differently holy, like their heavenly Father (Matthew 5:38-48).

Knowing oneself

Jesus continues to give instructions to His disciples on the mysteries of the kingdom of God. In the so-called Sermon on the Mount, we are led to search our minds and hearts, and come to self-knowledge around some crucial issues that illustrate a righteousness transcending mere ritualism or externalism (Matthew 5:17-37).

‘Salt of the Earth’

After pointing out to his disciples in the Beatitudes the indispensability of the inner dispositions like poverty in spirit, cleanness of heart and hunger for justice, Jesus reveals to them their dignity, and responsibility, in society as “salt of the Earth” and “light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-16).

To be a light in the darkness

From feast days back to the Ordinary Time of the liturgical year, the Church brings us to the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus, summarizing His preaching and detailing the call of the first disciples (Matthew 4:12-23).

Learning from a child

The Feast of the Santo Niño on the third Sunday of January is proper to the Philippines by indult from Rome. In a way it is a Filipino extension of the Christmas season, even as it reflects our deeply ingrained love for children, which in the light of the Gospel becomes a medium for our spiritual growth and maturity (Matthew 18:1-5, 10).

Mary, the Mother of God

Within the octave of Christmas, we celebrate the solemnity of the Holy Family and see in Joseph and Mary according to the account of Matthew, the appropriate human response of total compliance to the divine plan and instructions pertaining to the child Jesus. Thereafter, and still within the Christmas season and into the New Year, Mary the Mother of God is presented to us according to the account of Luke as our model in Christian discipleship (Luke 2:16-21).

The family that walks in God’s ways

How can the family be an enduring communion of life and love? For anyone, the family is set to be the first and the last bastion of mutuality and committed service, where one is blessed and favored, if everyone walks in God’s ways. This is exemplified by the obedience of Joseph to divine guidance for the welfare of the Child and His mother (Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23).

Joseph the righteous man

IN his narrative of the birth of Jesus, Saint Matthew is giving us a theological reflection on the meaning of Jesus. The birth narrative is like the overture that sounds the themes that would be developed in the symphony proper. Joseph, the husband of Mary, plays the prominent role of exemplary receptor to the divine plans (Matthew 1:18-24).

Works of reconnecting

John the Baptizer not only personifies for us the message of Advent as preparing the way of the Lord who is coming, he also represents to us the need to be involved with Jesus’ works of restoration and reconnection that concretize the presence of God’s reign among us.

Advent for Filipinos

(Fifteen years ago as I started to write this weekly column on BusinessMirror upon the urging of my kababayan Sen. Blas Ople, I decided early on to focus on the Word of God as proclaimed in the Sunday liturgy of the Church in the belief that we as a people would do very well to be shaped by the two-edge sword of God’s Word. For 14 years we have systematically gone over every Old Testament reading, Psalm, Epistle text, and Gospel pericope used in worship, and we have reflected on them for spiritual nourishment. Now I intend to take a more freewheeling approach to contemporary issues and relevant matters but still as guided by the Word of God and the tradition of our Christian faith.)

King as no other

Every year at the end of our liturgical calendar the solemnity of Christ the King is like a summit from where we can gaze at the vast expanse and the winding road we have traveled since the first Sunday of Advent. Like the finale of a symphony under the inspired direction of St. Luke (23:35-43), we are here given a resume of the salvific significance of Jesus on the cross.

The end

AS we draw near the end of our liturgical year the thought of the end of things naturally comes to mind, too. And the end is among the central teachings Jesus gave His disciples at the temple in Jerusalem (Luke 21:5-19).

Life hereafter

Jesus finally reached Jerusalem after a long pedagogical journey that we have been following for many Sundays now in our liturgy of the Word, even as our liturgical year is also nearing its end. Significantly, Jesus spoke about the resurrection of the dead at the very place where He knew He was to die (Luke 20:27-38).

Can we do a Zacchaeus?

IF last Sunday we saw a tax collector pleasing in the sight of God because of his truthfulness and humility, now we encounter a chief of tax-collectors doing the right thing and receiving salvation as he came to know Jesus (Luke 19:1-10), the divine mercy that seeks out the lost and the condemned.

God vindicates the humble

Only in Saint Luke do we find the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector at prayer in the temple (Luke 18:9-14). We must read it carefully to avoid clichéd and superficial interpretation that may not reflect what the evangelist intended to share with us.

Like the indomitable widow

Salvation comes with the faith of those who rely not on their own merits but on the loving compassion of God, revealed in Jesus Christ who is the friend of the least and the humble, the sinners and the lost. The parable of the unjust judge and the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8) illustrates Jesus’ teaching to His followers that it is necessary to pray always and without losing heart, for prayer is never in vain.

A faith that saves

Together with last Sunday’s gospel reading on being dutiful servants, the account by Saint Luke about the healing of the 10 lepers (Luke 17:11-19) form a sequence on the absolute gratuitousness of salvation from which no one is a priori excluded. The narration underlines the role of faith that gives thank and praise in the saving relationship that God makes available to the believer.

On being dutiful servants

The last two Sundays we were focused on the issue of the proper use of earthly goods. Now we are reminded of the constancy and hard work expected of us as disciples of Jesus with real faith in God (Luke 17:5-10).

Wise and prudent with money

Money matters, being important for our salvation. Proper use of money and wealth can help gain real treasure in heaven. The gospel reading (Luke 16:1-13) gives us at first a perplexing but deeply instructive parable about money management.

The love of a father

Feasting is a biblical image for the joyous communion of the just with God in all eternity. It is the love of a father in the gospel that calls for a feast to cap the welcome for and reconciliation with a son who has returned home (Luke 15:1-32).

The cost of discipleship

While on the road to Jerusalem, Jesus already spelled out to His followers traveling with Him what the cross means to anyone wanting to become His disciple (Luke 14:25-33). Not a demagogue seducing the crowds with promises and inciting them to blind obedience, Jesus confronts people plainly with the cost of following Him.

Proper behavior all around

Jesus was constantly under observation by people who would like to test his authenticity. But he could also turn the table around and place the same people under scrutiny.  Invited to eat the Sabbath meal at the home of a Pharisee and in the company of other Pharisees “observing Him carefully”, Jesus brought attention to all patterns of behavior proper to those who would be reclining at the table in the kingdom of God (Luke 14:1.7-14).  

The last as first through the narrow gate

The formation of the disciples of Jesus intensifies in the lengthy account by Saint Luke of the journey of Jesus toward Jerusalem as the focal place of his saving mission. It dramatizes life for his followers as a pilgrimage where the only sure route is the way personified by Jesus (Luke 13:22-30).

Always prepared

Last week we saw the man with overflowing barns called a fool because he did not include facing God in his plans in life and therefore was totally unprepared when death came. This Sunday the same point is pressed home as we hear what Jesus taught regarding the faithful servants found vigilant by the returning master (Luke 12:32-48). In these two Sundays as in the next two, we are being catechized that in life the end must always be considered.

To be rich

Continuing the formation of His disciples, Jesus next cleared up their minds and stoke up their hearts about the right attitude toward material possessions, and the real preparedness they should make sure of for the coming reign of God (Luke 12:13-21).

The Christian prayer

A disciple of Jesus lives a life of service reaching out to anyone in need, loving God with one’s whole self and others as oneself.  Such apostolic life flourishes in the context of a prayerful existence, in a life of communion with God in Jesus. (Luke 11:1-13).

For the love of God

Last Sunday’s message about the love of neighbor as oneself is correlated with the other great commandment of the love of God with one’s whole being. This Sunday’s gospel account (Luke 10:38-42) now considers what the love of God basically consists of for the disciples of Jesus.

To be a neighbor

WE have reflected on our being sent by Jesus with urgency as laborers in the abundant harvest. Now the gospel account (Luke 10:25-37) invites us to meditate on the love of neighbor as the fundamental operating principle of any true believer and coworker of Jesus.