Word Today, Feb.
1, 2005 (Tuesday
of the 4th Week in Ordinary
Readings: Heb 12:1-4/ Mk 5:21-43
One of the side-incidents in today's gospel is the
cure of a woman who had suffered from hemorrhage for
twelve years. In the hustle and bustle of the crowd,
she moved up behind Jesus and timidly touched his cloak.
Suddenly she felt the bleeding stop, at the same time
that Jesus felt power go out of him. Jesus then praised
the timid woman for her faith.
In the letter of the Philippine bishops on Filipino
spirituality, they mentioned the propensity of some Filipinos
to touch images of Jesus Christ and the saints. Admittedly,
there are some persons who do not approve of the practice.
However, provided it is not done in a superstitious spirit
but in a spirit of devotion, there is really nothing
wrong with wanting to have physical contact with the
image that is venerated (not worshipped). How many lovers
have kissed the photograph of their loved one? We are
human beings, not angels. We need to express our love
and appreciation through sensible and material gestures.
Word Today, Feb.
2, 2005 (The
Presentation of the Lord)
Readings: Mal 3:1-4/ Heb 2:14-18/ Lk 2:22-40 or 2:22-32
Today is the feast of the Presentation of the Lord.
We commemorate the Holy Family's fulfillment of the Jewish
rite to offer to God the first born son. It is traditional
in many places to bless candles and have a procession
on this day.
Some people have been spreading an alleged prophecy
that there will be "three days of darkness" when the
only light that we will have will come from blessed candles.
Some people may have been taken in by this assertion
and so they keep a store of blessed candles "just in
case". While the custom of blessing candles, having a
procession with them and even keeping some in the house
are pious and worthy practices, the threat of having
three days of darkness is not a credible one. It has
no basis in the teachings of the Church and the alleged
private revelations on which it is based is very questionable.
There is a need for conversion, but God does not ask
for conversion on the basis of irrational fears.
Word Today, Feb.
3, 2005 (Thursday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time)
Readings: Heb 12:18-19, 21-24/Mk 6:7-13
It is significant that when Jesus sent off his disciples,
he specifically instructed them to "take nothing for
the journey except a staff - no bread, no haversack,
no coppers for their purses."
The apostolate must rely on some human means. Jesus
asked them to bring a staff, to make use of sandals,
and to have a tunic (but not a spare one). But even more,
the apostle should rely on God's providence. He must
be detached from material things. If not, rather than
being a help, material things can become a hindrance
to the apostle's freedom of action and movement.
Word Today, Feb.
4, 2005 (Friday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time)
Readings: Heb 13:1-8/Mk 6:14-29
The gospel today narrates how Herod beheaded John
the Baptist upon the instigation of Herodias, Herod's
illegitimate queen, because she was actually the wife
of Herod's brother. It all came about because of bragging.
He told Herodias' daughter, "Ask me anything you like
and I will give it to you." Having said this in the presence
of his guests, he could not back out when she asked for
the head of John.
It is quite common that in a group with friends some
people start bragging out of vanity. Then they may find
themselves in a tight situation because they cannot honor
their boasting without doing wrong. The best thing is
to avoid bragging. But if due to boasting someone falls
into a commitment he cannot justly fulfill, the next
best thing to do is humbly to acknowledge one's mistake
and face the embarrassment rather than do wrong.
Word Today, Feb.
5, 2005 (Saturday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time)
13:15-17, 20-21/Mk 6:30-34
In the midst of all their activities, Jesus told the
apostles to "go off by yourselves to a remote place and
have some rest." Jesus was concerned for the rest and
well being of the apostles. Rest and recreation are important
activities because men cannot be constantly on the move.
We are all familiar with the phenomenon of being "burned
There can be many forms of resting. Here Jesus told
them to look for a remote place, a place where they could
have some solitude. One of the most refreshing forms
of rest is to go on retreat. A spiritual retreat is a
period of days (usually three or more) of getting away
from our daily activities in order to spend some time
to be with God. A good retreat leads to spiritual renewal
coming from a deep conversion.
Word Today, Feb.
6, 2005 (FIFTH
SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME)
Readings: Is 58:7-10/1 Cor 2:1-5/Mt 5:13-16
"You are the salt of the earth." (Mt 5: 13) This phrase
from the reading of the Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time
is a reminder of what we Christians should be. In ancient
times, salt was considered a very precious substance.
Soldiers were paid with blocks of salt. This is the origin
of the word "salary" (salt in Latin is sal). It
was not only an ingredient that improved the taste of
food. It was needed to prevent food from rotting.
Christian presence in society should be a life-giving
factor. We must prevent the corruption of morals and
values. We should also give "good taste", showing the
joyful face of our religion. Finally, just like salt
which dissolves and blends with the food, we should do
all these without making a big fuss.
Word Today, Feb.
7, 2005 (Monday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time)
Readings: Gn 1:1-19/ Mk 6:53-56
"And wherever he went, to villages, towns or farms,
they laid the sick in the marketplace and begged him
to let them touch just the fringe of his cloak. And all
those who touched him were cured." This emphasis on
the sensible contact with Jesus can help us reflect
on the importance of pilgrimage sites. The Pope spoke
of the fact that there are special times of grace (kairos),
as there are also special spaces or places of
grace, like those places where Christ himself walked
on, or where perhaps the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared
or manifested her motherly care.
Making a pilgrimage to such places helps us to see
our life as a pilgrimage or a journey. We are all moving
in time, towards our final destination, which is heaven.
But to reach our destination, we must continually stay
in the right direction. We should not lose our bearings,
but go towards God.
Word Today, Feb. 8, 2005 ( Tuesday
of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time )
Readings: Gn 1:20—2:4a/ Mk 7:1-13
In the gospel today Jesus condemned once again the hypocrisy
of the Pharisees. At the end of his harangue, Jesus summarizes
what is wrong with their way of acting: "You nullify
the word of God through the tradition you have handed on."
In this verse, Jesus condemns the human traditions introduced
by the Pharisees, in violation of the word of God. Some people
use this to denounce the Catholic Church's valuing of traditions.
This point needs clarification. What the Church values as
a source of revelation is "Sacred Tradition", that
is to say, the word of God (teachings of Christ and the apostles)
as passed on to us not in written form. Sacred Tradition
is not opposed to Sacred Scripture, they are complementary.
In fact we would not know what is the authentic Sacred Scripture
if it were not for the Sacred Tradition kept by the Church.
We should note, however, that not everything "traditional" forms
part of the Church's Tradition. Discernment of what is and
what is not deposit of faith is the competence of the successors
of the Apostles.
Word Today, Feb. 9, 2005 ( Ash
Readings: Jl 2:12-18/ 2 Cor 5:20—6:2/ Mt 6:1-6, 16-18
Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the liturgical
season of Lent. Lent is the 40 day period of preparation
for the most important celebration of the Church, the day
of the Lord’s glorious resurrection. To receive well
the benefits of Easter, we must dispose ourselves through
conversion. We must remove all the obstacles that hinder
us from getting closer to God. The most important of these
obstacles are our personal sins. That is why one of the formulas
for the imposition of ashes today repeats the Lord’s
preaching, “Turn away from sin and believe the gospel.” In
order to help us realize this, another formula reminds us
of our existential condition, so that we do not get attached
to the things of this world. “Remember man that from
dust you came and to dust you shall return.”
It is a good day to go to Mass, but Ash Wednesday is not
a holyday of obligation. It is not obligatory either to attend
the imposition of ashes, but it is a very good custom. And
if we have it imposed, it is not necessary to try to keep
the ashes on the whole day. What is obligatory today, and
what we should practice in a spirit of penance, is the law
of fasting and abstinence. Ordinarily, this means that those
above 14 should refrain from eating flesh meat. Those between
the ages of 18 and 60 should fast, eating only one full meal
during the day. Needless to say, we should not see this as
a mere external imposition, but we should practice it in
a spirit of penance and sacrifice, for the love of God.
Word Today, Feb. 10, 2005 (Thursday
after Ash Wednesday)
Readings: Dt 30:15-20/ Lk 9:22-25
The gospel of today contains an important rule of Christian
life given by the Master himself: “If anyone wishes
to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross
daily, and follow me.” Lent is a good time to go deeper
into the meaning of penance and sacrifice in the Christian
life. Some years ago, when the iron curtain was still standing,
someone observed that in the West, we have Christ but no
cross. In the East (referring to the communist countries
where there was no freedom of religion), we have the cross
(suffering and persecution), but no Christ.
The Gospel today tells us that there is no real Christ
without the Cross. This is why, perhaps, many people in developed
countries are unhappy and far from God. Christianity is a
religion of joy, but it is not a namby-pamby easy-going doctrine.
The Christian commitment demands sacrifice. How can we truly
love God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves if
we are basking in comforts and are unwilling to sacrifice
ourselves for the good of others?
Word Today, Feb. 11, 2005 (Friday
after Ash Wednesday)
Readings: Is 58:1-9a/ Mt 9:14-15
The gospel today narrates how the followers of John the
Baptist asked Jesus, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast,
but your disciples do not fast?” (Mt 9:14). Fasting
was a form of penance well known in the Scriptures. Jesus
Christ did not abolish fasting, but clarified its context “The
days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast.” (v. 15)
Christ himself fasted. And we see the early Christians
engaging in penance and fasting (see 2 Cor 6:5, 11:27). The
Church remains faithful to this tradition, specifying in
each era certain penitential days in which the faithful are
asked to fast, to perform works of penance and engage in
other acts of piety and charity. The source of mortification
that the Lord asks of us is our own daily life. We have so
many opportunities during the day -- waking up on time, being
punctual for our appointments, being orderly with our things
and our activities, bearing with difficult persons, etc.
How well do we take these opportunities to practice penance?
Word Today, Feb. 12, 2005 (Saturday
after Ash Wednesday)
Readings: Is 58:9b-14/ Lk 5:27-32
When the people were scandalized that Jesus was eating
with tax collectors (considered as public sinners in that
milieu) and sinners, Jesus answered, “Those who are
well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick;
I have come not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Lk
5:31-32). It is very moving to see how Christ describes himself
as a physician, as a healer. He was obviously a healer in
the physical sense, through the many miracles he wrought.
But here, he talks of another kind of healing, a healing
of the spirit, especially from the sickness of sin and all
In order to avail of the services of a physician, we have
to present ourselves to the physician and expound on our
ailments. Jesus Christ acts as a physician in the sacrament
of confession. Let us not be ashamed to reveal our ailments.
We are asked to do so, not in order to be reprimanded, but
in order to be healed. True, it may be shameful and embarrassing.
But if we truly want to be healed, don’t we tell even
our embarrassing maladies to the doctor?
Word Today, Feb. 13, 2005 ( FIRST
SUNDAY OF LENT )
Readings: Gn 2:7-9; 3:1-7/Rom 5:12-19 or 5:12, 17-19/Mt
It is very consoling to see Jesus himself tempted. He prepared
his public life with a fast of 40 days, similar to what we
are doing during this Lenten season. At the end of it, he
was tempted by the devil to satisfy his hunger in an illicit
way, to go after riches and honors, and to make useless displays
of vanity. If Jesus himself was tempted and Jesus is perfect
God and man, then it stands to reason that to be tempted
is not necessarily bad. Temptation is not a sin.
We should not rashly and deliberately expose ourselves
to temptation. But when temptation comes without our looking
for it, we should not lose our composure. We must reject
the temptation, either by getting out of the occasion that
is provoking it, or by decisively asserting the opposite
of that temptation. For example, if we are tempted to be
vain, then we can remember our failures and other considerations
that will move us to be humble. If we are tempted to impurities,
we should remove such thoughts by focusing on more important
considerations -- for example, that we are temples of the
Holy Spirit and should therefore keep our hearts pure and
Word Today, Feb. 14,
of the 1st Week of Lent)
Readings: Lv 19:1-2, 11-18/ Mt 25:31-46
The gospel today is about the last judgment. On that day,
Jesus will pass final sentence on everyone. What will be
the basis of the judgment? The gospel speaks of works of
charity (to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to visit
those in prison, etc.) that are done to our fellowmen, in
whom we should see Christ.
St. John of the Cross said that at the twilight of our
life (when we approach our death), the only thing that will
really matter is love. Have we loved God, or have we loved
ourselves? The Church has, over the years, identified the
so-called corporal and spiritual works of mercy as genuine
works of love. If we truly love Christ, we will end up attending
to the bodily and spiritual needs of our neighbors. There
is no place for egotists in the kingdom of heaven.
Word Today, Feb. 15, 2005 (Tuesday of the 1st Week of Lent)
Readings: Is 55:10-11/ Mt 6:7-15
The gospel today contains the Lord’s prayer. It is
the best of all the vocal prayers because it was taught to
us by Christ himself. We can concentrate today on the first
line: “Our Father in heaven...” (Mt. 6:9) Christ
is inviting us to address God as father. St. Paul said that
all fatherhood is from God. Whatever good things we associate
with our own fathers, such as care, protection, compassion
and forgiveness, we can attribute to God, and this to a superlative
If we truly related to God as our father, would we not
behave differently? If God is our father, we have no cause
for despair. If God, who is the almighty creator, is our
father, we should be able to say, with St. Paul, “For
those who love God, everything works together for the good.” Above
all, if we see God as our loving father, we should be moved
to gratitude for his care, and thereby love him in return.
One of the greatest manifestations of God the Father’s
love for us is the gift of the Eucharist.
Word Today, Feb. 16, 2005 (Wednesday of the 1st Week of
Readings: Jon 3:1-10/ Lk 11:29-32
Both readings of today’s liturgical celebration talk
about the prophet Jonah. He is a figure of Jesus Christ because,
just as Jonah was inside the belly of the big fish for three
days, so was Jesus in the bowels of the earth after his death.
Jonah is an interesting character because he acted like many
of us. When God gave him a mission that he thought was very
difficult, he tried to run away from God.
Sometimes God asks us for something. Perhaps it is a little
sacrifice to help someone. Or it might be a decision to serve
the Church with more dedication. We are aware of it every
time we talk to God in the intimacy of our prayer. Yet we
feel inside us the hesitation to take the decisive step.
We start calculating and figuring out what’s in it
for me. Then we can end up running away just as Jonah did.
Let’s remember then that we cannot really avoid the
gaze of God. We may be able to do so for a while, but God
has sometimes been called “the hound of heaven.” Jonah
realized his mistake and ended up doing God’s will
-- and his mission, difficult as it seemed, turned out to
be a smashing success.
Word Today, Feb. 17, 2005 (Thursday of the 1st Week of Lent)
Readings: Est C:12, 14-16, 23-25/ Mt 7:7-12
We may not realize it, but we spend a great deal of our
time and effort in asking, giving and thanking. We ask people
to help us, to teach us something, to provide us with some
material needs, etc. At other times, we are the ones who
help, teach or provide for the needs of others. When we receive
help, we are grateful. When we give help, we expect to be
thanked. And all these form the foundations of human relationships,
which end in friendship. “A friend in need is a friend
indeed.” That is why it is not surprising that in the
gospel today, Christ encourages us to ask, to petition God
for our needs. This is not to instrumentalize God, provided
we do not limit our dealings with God to petitions.
How does a child relate to his father or mother? Does he
not ask his parents for all kinds of help? If a child were
to approach his parents with an air of self-sufficiency,
the parents would not feel good about it. When a good child
asks things from his parents, the parents know very well
that the child trusts and loves them. The test would be when
the parents ask the child to do something he may not be inclined
to, and yet he obeys. Likewise, let us not hesitate to ask
God for our needs. But let us always end that petition with
the wholehearted acceptance of God’s will.
Word Today, Feb. 18, 2005 (Friday of the 1st Week of Lent)
Readings: Ez 18:21-28/ Mt 5:20-26
The gospel today contains spiritual demands that many of
us would find extremely difficult to fulfill. Christ said, “You
have learnt how it was said to our ancestors, You must not
kill; ...But I say this to you, anyone who is angry with
his brother will answer for it before the court.” The
term “brother” here, as we can see from other
passages of the gospel and from other teaching of Christ,
refers to all men. So important is it not to bear any hatred
against our fellowmen that Christ even sets reconciliation
with them as a prerequisite for making a genuine act of worship
of God. Yet overcoming anger can be very difficult to put
Such difficulty can perhaps explain the hesitation that
many Catholics in our country have, even now, in accepting
the position of the Church on death penalty. The logic of
the Church’s position is clear: life is such a fundamental
value that we can have no moral basis for killing if we can
defend ourselves in some other way. If we can stop a killer
from his deed by wounding him, why should we inflict a mortal
blow? Yet the emotions of anger, disgust and fear can get
the better of us. Let us ask God to help us wholeheartedly
to forgive people who may have harmed us.
Word Today, Feb. 19, 2005 (Saturday of the 1st Week of Lent)
Readings: Dt 26:16-19/ Mt 5:43-48
The gospel today contains the very demanding injunction
of Christ to “love your enemies and pray for those
who persecute you.” At the end of the chapter, Christ
says, “You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly
Father is perfect.”
We all know by experience that it is easy enough to say, “Forgive
your enemies,” especially if we are advising someone
else. But if we were faced with the very real and concrete
situation of having to love someone who has done us a very
deep wrong, we realize that this is not an easy demand. That
is why, perhaps, it should be connected to the invitation
of Christ to strive for perfection. Only if we strive for
the highest spiritual goal, that of being like God in perfection
and good qualities, can we be in a position to love our enemies.
If we were to remain on the level of merely earthly considerations,
such as to say that it is bad for our health or that our
immune system will weaken if we are angry, then we will be
unable to fulfill this Christian demand.
On this year of the Eucharist, we can think of Christ’s
readiness to forgive, even to the point of giving us his
body as a pledge of his mercy.
Word Today, Feb. 20, 2005 (SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT)
Readings: Gn 12:1-4a/2 Tm 1:8b-10/Mt 17:1-9
The gospel of today’s Mass is about the transfiguration
-- that singular event when Christ made the three apostles
Peter, James and John, privy to his future glory in heaven.
St. Bede, referring to this event says that “the Lord
allowed them to enjoy for a short time the contemplation
of the happiness that will last forever, so that they can
bear adversity with greater fortitude.”
The transfiguration took place at Mt. Tabor. The passion
and death of Christ will take place at Mt. Calvary. Our life
will consist of Tabors and Calvaries. We will have ups and
downs. When things seem to be going well, let us not get
self-complacent but rather store up a reserve of optimism
for future trials. And when we are faced with trials, let
us remember that these are temporary and that we have already
tasted the gifts of God and will taste more of it if we take
our trials well.
Word Today, Feb. 21, 2005 (Monday of the 2nd Week of Lent)
Readings: Dn 9:4b-10/ Lk 6:36-38
Jesus said, “Give, and there will be gifts for you:
a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running
over, will be poured into your lap.” This is an invitation
to be generous in giving ourselves to God and in the service
Someone once made the observation that we can never outdo
God in generosity. When we are generous in our charity, we
shall receive much more in return. This does not mean that
we should give precisely in order to have a reward. But God
is so good that when we give of ourselves unstintingly, we
will certainly receive a much greater reward in heaven. We
often will also receive a greater reward even on earth.
Word Today, Feb. 22, 2005 (The Chair of Saint Peter, apostle)
Readings: 1 Pt 5:1-4/Mt 16:13-19
“You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my
Church.” Today we celebrate the feast of the “chair” of
St. Peter. We are probably familiar with the so-called “professorial
chair.” The Latin term for this kind of chair is “cathedra”.
It is where the word “cathedral” comes from.
The cathedral is the church where the bishop has his “chair”.
Chair here therefore connotes a symbol of authority because
of the position held by the one sitting on it.
Today then we should remember the authority of St. Peter.
It is an authority that came from Christ. This authority
is passed on to the successor of St. Peter, who is the Pope.
Together with authority is the special assistance of Christ. “The
gates of hell can never hold out against it.” We must
have complete confidence in the Pope and submit to his authority
in everything that has to do with the saving and liberating
mission of the Church.
Word Today, Feb. 23, 2005 (Wednesday of the 2nd Week of
Readings: Jer 18:18-20/Mt 20:17-28
Today’s gospel reading shows us the ambition of the
brothers James and John, who wanted to take the first positions
in the future kingdom of heaven, which they probably conceived
as an earthly prerogative. But what is more moving here is
the reaction of Jesus Christ. He does not get impatient but
he makes use of this very human tendency, to channel the
zeal of these brothers to something better.
“To share the cup” is a gesture of intimacy
and friendship. This is something we should all cultivate
with the Lord. But in the case of Christ, it also means to
be willing to suffer out of love and to do the will of God.
Thus, Christ referred to his passion, during the prayer in
the garden, as “the cup” that he would have preferred
to forego, but was willing to take if it was the Father’s
will. In the end, the two brothers did share the cup, the
cup of friendship and the cup of suffering. James was the
first apostle to undergo martyrdom, decapitated by Herod.
And John would be the last apostle, suffering persecution
and exile for many years.
Word Today, Feb. 24, 2005 (Thursday of the 2nd Week of Lent)
Readings: Jer 17:5-10/ Lk 16:19-31
The gospel today presents the parable of Lazarus and the
rich man. Lazarus’s patience and long-suffering were
rewarded with being in the “bosom of Abraham” while
the rich man who did not care for others and spent a completely
selfish life was punished in hell. There he suffered unbearable
pain, and without any remedy. Hell is forever.
In his book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, the Pope talked
about the reality of hell. It is an essential part of our
faith. He says that “there is something in man’s
moral conscience itself that rebels against any loss of this
conviction...Isn’t final punishment in some way necessary
in order to re-establish moral equilibrium in the complex
history of humanity? Is not hell in a certain sense the ultimate
safeguard of man’s moral conscience?” It is not
a question of frightening us into behaving. We have to be
moved by the love of God. But it is also good to remember
the reality of hell. When the temptations are strong, it
is good to know the foolishness of choosing eternal damnation
for a moment of satisfaction.
Word Today, Feb. 25, 2005 (Friday of the 2nd Week of Lent)
Readings: Gn 37:3-4, 12-13a, 17b-28a/ Mt 21:33-43, 45-46
“The stone that the builders rejected has become the
cornerstone; this is the Lord’s doing and we marvel
at it.” This mysterious phrase applied in the first
place to Jesus Christ, whom the leaders of the Jews rejected,
but who was in fact the promised Savior. But we can allegorically
apply this to other paradoxes in life.
We tend to reject sufferings and setbacks. Yet very often,
such setbacks can turn out to be blessings in disguise. Actually,
if we are trying to do God’s will, apparently negative
things that occur to us must have a deeper meaning. Since
God is a loving father, he will never abandon us. God is
able to draw good from evil. What we have rejected can be
the cornerstone of greater unity with God.
Word Today, Feb. 26, 2005 (Saturday of the 2nd Week of Lent)
Readings: Mi 7:14-15, 18-20/ Lk 15:1-3, 11-32
The awareness of our personal sinfulness should not lead
us to despair or discouragement. Quite the contrary, it should
lead us to get even closer to God because, as we see in the
parable of the prodigal son in today’s gospel, this
humble acknowledgement brings us very close to God. The situation
of the prodigal son is the situation of the sinner -- our
The prodigal son found himself in the worst possible circumstance
that a man of his background could be in. Remember that the
Jews consider pork as “unclean.” Yet here he
was, having to take care of a herd of pigs. He was even envious
of what the pigs were eating. When we commit sin, we somehow
find ourselves losing our human dignity. From being a son
of God, we go even lower than our nature and become like
an animal. But we never really lose our dignity. We are constantly
asked to recover it. For that to be possible, we must first
acknowledge our sinfulness then be ready to ask for our Father’s
forgiveness in Penance.
Word Today, Feb. 27, 2005 (THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT)
Readings: Ex 17:3-7/ Rom 5:1-2, 5-8/ Jn 4:5-42 or 4:5-15,
19b-26, 39a, 40-42
The gospel today contains the intriguing dialogue that
Jesus held with the Samaritan woman by the well. It is a
good example of how an ordinary conversation can lead persons
to God. Here, there is a gradual movement from such a prosaic
reality as quenching the thirst from the well-water, to the
higher reality of another kind of thirst, that finally leads
to the change of heart in the woman and the recognition of
Jesus as the savior. Since we are celebrating the Year of
the Eucharist, we may also see a veiled reference to the
Most Blessed Sacrament, where our Savior lies hidden in the
form of food and drink. We too can feel a “thirst” for
God that will be satisfied by the Body and Blood of Jesus.
Perhaps Jesus is also conversing with us as he did with
this Samaritan woman. He may be addressing us through our
most ordinary actions. God has something to tell us in every
event of our daily life. Like the woman, Jesus might be placing
in our heart a thirst for higher realities. Also like the
woman, he may be confronting us with our failings and asking
us for a conversion. Finally, like the woman, we should pass
on our discovery of Christ to all our friends and relatives.
Word Today, Feb. 28, 2005 (Monday of the 3rd Week of Lent)
Readings: 2 Kgs 5:1-15b/ Lk 4:24-30
“No prophet is ever accepted in his own country.” While
this phrase applies in the first place to Christ, we can
also see something similar happening in our daily life. Often,
when a person who has been far away from God is touched by
the grace of conversion, his/her former friends can hardly
believe their eyes and ears. Some may be genuinely appreciative
of the change, but others may also oppose the changes in
that person. They may not be happy for losing a companion-in-sin.
Just like Jesus Christ, that person must remain firm in
his resolve. This gospel shows us that we can expect opposition
in doing good. After all, we should not condition our doing
good or our conversion on the acceptance of men. Otherwise,
it would not be a true conversion.