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Official News Service of the Media Office of Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines
Updated: 25 min 45 sec ago

Increasing lawlessness

59 min 4 sec ago

ANOTHER priest has been murdered.

Last night, June 10, Fr. Richmond Nilo, parish priest of Zaragosa in Nueva Ecija of the diocese of Cabanatuan, was gunned down and killed instantly in the early evening as he was about to celebrate mass in the barangay chapel of Mayamot. Six Sundays ago, Fr. Mark Anthony Ventura was also killed—gunned down—in Gattaran town in Cagayan Valley after celebrating morning mass. He was still in his priestly garb. Both of them were killed as priests. Mistaken identity could not be a reason. They were really killed because they are priests.

This is a very bad sign in the situation of the country now. There is no more consideration of who or what a person is. If people could be so brazen as to kill a priest as he is about to celebrate mass or has just celebrated mass on a Sunday, then who could be safe? There is really no longer any fear of God.

Are these two killings related? We cannot say. It is not only too early to say but the police are so inept that we may never be able to know the facts and the perpetrators. Many high profile killings are not solved—with so many other killings of priests, like the killing of Fr. Tito Paez in December 2017 also in Cabanatuan and even up to killing of Fr. Pops Tintorio in October of 2011 in North Cotabato remains unsolved, or intentionally left unsolved. If killings of priests are left unsolved, then what can the ordinary citizen expect? Thus the more the 20,000 killings in the name of war on drugs are filed “under investigation.” They will remain unsolved!

There is indeed an increasing lawlessness in the country. Why? Not because the police or the military do not have enough power; but because there is a culture of impunity in the country. Those who do wrong are not held accountable while those declared “enemies” of Duterte are made to face flimsy and even trumped up cases, like in the case of Sen Delima, CJ Sereno, Sr. Pat Fox and many lumad and farmer leaders in Mindanao.

Is this sense of lawlessness deliberately created? Some with naughty minds may think so. Like in the time of Marcos, when a “state of anarchy” was created to justify the declaration of Martial Law, it may not be far-fetched to sense that these killings are executed to create a sense of helplessness to justify a declaration of nationwide Martial Law. It is not Martial Law that can stop lawlessness. In fact it will bring about more lawlessness because all the more the police and the military will pursue their operations without any accountability to civilian authorities. More impartial and independent investigations are what we need. More accountability of the government to the people should be the call. The people then have to be more active and vocal to call for accountability. Huwag tayo matakot at huwag tayo magpabaya. No one is now safe. Kaya makialam na tayong lahat!

Killings

1 hour 24 min ago

THEY are killing our flock. They are killing us the shepherds. They are killing our faith. They are cursing our Church. They are killing God again as they did in Calvary.

Killing is the solution. Killing is the language. Killing is the way. Killing is the answer. Killing is encouraged. Killing is their job. Killers are rewarded. Killers boast of their murders.

They kill in the streets. They kill inside homes. They kill in tricycles and jeeps. They kill in plazas. They kill in the malls. They kill in the chapels. The nation is a killing field. They kill everywhere. They are happy to kill. But we are not a nation of killers.

Are you still clapping? Are you still laughing? You still find it funny? You still think “Dapat lang”? Are you still saying “Pagbigyan natin”? Are you still saying our people feel safer now? Are you still saying this is the best government we ever had? Is this the change you want? Are these the changes you dream of? Are you still saying “There are some good things happening! Focus on the good”? If they curse us again for speaking up, we will not be surprised.

Are you afraid to talk? You think silence is a virtue? You think we your shepherds should sow unity by being like the monkeys who see and speak and hear no evil? You think we can be the next target if we speak? Do you still care? Where is your faith? You talk in whispers. You are afraid to be heard? Have we become numb and dumb?

“Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?” said King Henry II about Saint Thomas Becket. Like blind fanatics, the knights of the King went to the Cathedral, searched for the Archbishop, hacked him and split his skull to make the King happy but the king was unnerved instead. The King became penitent and offered penance. The murderers were disgraced.

Today, the murderers are commended and the king is undisturbed.

(This is a guest editorial; lifted from the Message to the People of God by the Clergy of the Archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan on June 12, 2018)

Pope met with brother of Chilean priest found guilty of abuse

2 hours 43 min ago

Auxiliary Bishop Jorge Concha Cayuqueo, the apostolic administrator for the Diocese of Osorno, Chile, and special Vatican envoys, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta and Father Jordi Bertomeu Farnos, pray during a Mass inside Cathedral of St. Matthew in Osorno, Chile, June 17. The Vatican envoys, who investigated clerical sexual abuse in Chile, were on a mission to promote healing. CNS/COURTESY OF ARCHDIOCESE OF SANTIAGO

By Junno Arocho Esteves

Catholic News Service

June 19, 2018

VATICAN— The brother of Chilean Father Fernando Karadima called on his brother to ask forgiveness for the hurt inflicted on those he sexually abused.

“I would ask him to be humble. Fernando, ask for forgiveness. Not in silence to God or in your prayers. Do it publicly, that people hear that you ask forgiveness for the harm you have done to victims and to everyone,” Oscar Karadima said in an interview with Chilean newspaper La Tercera, published June 17.

“Fernando,” he continued, “you are a man who is going to die. How can you die in this way, as a proud person who doesn’t ask forgiveness? I ask you in the name of God and the most holy virgin who you always said you loved so much. I ask you in the name of my father, my mother, my two dead sisters.”

Oscar Karadima also revealed that he was among the group of priests and laypeople who met with Pope Francis June 2 and spoke to him about the suffering his family endured following the revelation that his brother was found guilty of sexual abuse.

“I spoke to him about Fernando; I told him what Fernando was like with his family, with us: He was an arrogant man, authoritarian, a man we were afraid of and that even my mother was afraid of him,” Oscar Karadima said.

Recalling his conversation with the pope, Oscar Karadima said his family members “were also victims of abuse of power and of conscience” by his brother. Their family name, he added, was tarnished due to the scandals.

“We are the only Karadima family in Chile. I’ve read on social media, ‘The Karadima family are a family of degenerates, a family guilty of covering up, a family of pedophiles,'” he said.

Known as an influential and charismatic priest, Father Karadima drew hundreds of young men to the priesthood, and four of his proteges went on to become bishops, including retired Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno.

After accusations of sexual abuse came to light in 2010, the Vatican investigated Father Karadima and sentenced him to a life of prayer and penance after he was found guilty of sexual abuse.

Oscar Karadima said he also wanted to inform the pope of the four bishops who formed part of Father Karadima’s inner circle and that “they were witnesses and covered up abuses.”

“The pope stopped me and said, ‘Speak to me about Barros.’ I told him, ‘Your Holiness, Bishop Barros lied. He was my brother’s friend and, in a certain way, you can say he belonged to his ‘iron circle,'” Oscar Karadima recalled. The pope had accepted Bishop Barros’ resignation June 11. Abuse survivors have alleged that when Bishop Barros was still a priest, he witnessed their abuse by his mentor.

“Everyone knew that they were made bishops because my brother Fernando was able to make it so, through his friendship or closeness with (Cardinal) Angelo Sodano,” he added.

Cardinal Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, served as apostolic nuncio to Chile from 1978-1988 and as Vatican secretary of state from 1991-2006.

Karadima recalled tearing up as he recounted his and his family’s pain and that Pope Francis touched his hand and encouraged him.

After listening to him, he added, the pope grabbed a piece of paper and wrote a message for the Karadima family.

“To the family of Oscar Karadima, with my blessing and my sorrow for so much suffering that you bear. In the name of Fernando, silent and incapable of realizing (his mistakes), I ask your forgiveness,” the pope wrote.

Karadima said he was moved by the pope’s gesture and said it was the first time someone from the Catholic Church recognized his family’s pain.

“Neither (Cardinal Riccardo) Ezzati, nor (Cardinal Francisco Javier) Errazuriz, nor anyone acknowledged our pain. That is why what I also ask for — because no one has said it — is justice for my family. The pope was the only one who had words of affection and consolation toward them,” Oscar Karadima said.

Pope Francis has made seeking forgiveness and promoting reconciliation a priority in the fallout of the sexual abuse crisis that has rocked the Chilean church.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, president of a board of review handling abuse cases within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Father Jordi Bertomeu Farnos, an official of the doctrinal congregation, concluded their June 14-17 visit to the diocese of Osorno with a Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew.

During the Mass, Archbishop Scicluna, Father Bertomeu and Auxiliary Bishop Jorge Concha Cayuqueo of Santiago, apostolic administrator for the Diocese of Osorno, kneeled before the congregation and asked forgiveness.

“Pope Francis has entrusted me to ask forgiveness for each one of the faithful of the Diocese of Osorno and all the citizens of this territory for having wounded you and profoundly offending you,” Archbishop Scicluna said.

Addressing journalists after the Mass, the archbishop thanked the people of Osorno for welcoming him and said the visit was only the beginning of the journey toward reconciliation.

True reconciliation, he said, isn’t achieved with a mission of a few days, but is rather a gift from God that must be accompanied by long process that requires patience, generosity and humility.”

Dictatorships begin with taking over media to spread lies, pope says

2 hours 52 min ago

Pope Francis gives the homily during morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae at the Vatican May 25, 2018. CNS/VATICAN MEDIA

By Carol Glatz

Catholic News Service

June 19, 2018

VATICAN— All dictatorships begin the same way: media outlets are put in the hands of “unscrupulous” people who spread lies and weaken democracy, Pope Francis said.

Typical standards, norms and laws in regard to communications are first eliminated, the pope said in his homily June 18 during morning Mass at Domus Sanctae Marthae.

Then an entire media or communication outlet is handed over “to a firm, a business that slanders, tells lies, weakens democracy, and then the judges come to judge these weakened institutions, these destroyed, condemned people and a dictatorship makes progress this way,” he said.

“All dictatorships, all of them, began like this, by adulterating communication, by putting communications in the hands of people without scruples, of governments without scruples,” he added.

The pope’s homily focused on the day’s first reading in which Jezebel succeeds in her a plot to help her husband, King Ahab, take possession of their neighbor’s land; the neighbor, Naboth, refused to sell what had belonged to his family for generations. Jezebel arranged for two men to accuse Naboth of cursing God and the king, for which Naboth was stoned to death.

Pope Francis said what happened to Naboth is similar to what happened to Jesus, St. Stephen and all martyrs who were condemned as a result of lies and falsehoods.

Today, many people, “many heads of state or government,” forge the same scenario: start with a lie and “after you destroy both a person and a situation with that falsehood,” there is a judgment and a conviction, he said.

Many countries, today, he added, “they use this method: destroy free communication.”

But individuals, too, are also tempted to destroy others by talking behind their back, telling lies or spreading scandalous news, the pope said.

Talking about scandals is enormously seductive, he said, and “one is seduced by scandals. Good news isn’t a seductress.”

“The seduction of scandal in communication backs one into a corner,” in that it destroys people like Naboth or St. Stephen, who was stoned to death by people who didn’t want to hear the truth.

There have been “so many people, so many countries destroyed by evil and calumnious dictatorships,” he said, including the ones that persecuted the Jews with “calumnious communication” so they ended up in Auschwitz.

“Oh, it was a horror, but it’s a horror that happens today — in small communities, to people, in many countries. The first step is to seize communications, and later destroy, judgment and death,” he said.

St. Josemaria, intercessor for ‘ordinary’ sainthood

7 hours 55 min ago

By Fr. Mickey Cardenas

June 18, 2018

MANILA

The liturgical feast day of St. Josemaria Escriva, celebrated on June 26, is not only a reminder that God calls all men and women to be holy it is, moreover, an invitation to ask the saint’s intercession for “ordinary sainthood.”

“Our Lord wanted to remind all men and women that they can and should be saints— also ‘ordinary’ people: married or single; engaged in any honest job; sick or well, young or old, poor or rich… from heaven St. Josemaria continues to carry out this mission, helping many people to encounter Christ amid the problems, dreams, joys, and sorrows of daily life.”

This is the testimony given by Monsignor Joaquin Alonso, who had worked for many years with St. Josemaria, as well as with his successors as head of the Prelature of Opus Dei: Bishop Alvaro del Portillo and Bishop Javier Echevarria.

Founding Opus Dei

The mission God entrusted to Fr. Escriva on Oct. 2, 1928, was to found Opus Dei, a path to holiness through professional work and the ordinary duties of a Christian.

On March 19, Pope Francis issued a new apostolic exhortation “Gaudete et exsultate” (“Rejoice and be glad”) to address the universal call to holiness in today’s world with the goal “to re-propose the call to holiness in a practical way for our own time”.

‘From heaven, I’ll be able to help you better’

“St. Josemaria’s holy life had an enormous impact on those around him and on the millions familiar with his writings. Yet with his arrival in heaven, his help has become much more far-reaching, thanks to his intercession before God for so many people’s needs, whether big or small,” explained the priest-assistant of Monsignor Escriva.

For a better understanding of the saints’ intercession Alonso, who had served as consultor of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, expounded: “In this world, saints have spent their lives in loving both God and neighbor, thus imitating Jesus Christ, who ‘went about doing good’ (Acts 10:38). But when they reach heaven, as we read in the Catechism of the Catholic Church – in number 2683 – they ‘constantly care for those whom they have left on earth.’”

“Their intercession is their most exalted service to God’s plan. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world,” further reads the catechism.

“From heaven, I’ll be able to help you better,” Alonso recalled St. Josemaria assuring those around him as the holy priest approached the end of his life.

Masses in PH to commemorate St. Josemaria

Monsignor Escriva died in Rome on June 26, 1975 and was canonized by Pope St. John Paul II on Oct. 6, 2002.

Since Monsignor Escriva’s death, and especially since his canonization, Masses have been celebrated on June 26 attended by a growing number of people who have discovered through the saint’s message of living out their Christian vocation “in middle of the world.”

The Information Office of Opus Dei in the Philippines offers in its website (opusdei.ph) information on Masses that will be celebrated for the liturgical commemoration of St. Josemaria in various places in the country.

Archdiocese warns of ‘false pastor’ in Leyte 

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 21:01

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lord’s Transfiguration in Palo, Leyte. ARCHDIOCESE OF PALO 

By CBCPNews

June 18, 2018

LEYTE

Catholic officials said a phony priest has been making the rounds in the Palo archdiocese, celebrating Mass and other Sacraments.

Archbishop John Du of Palo clarified that a certain Fr. Algerico Cabilogan is pretending to be someone he is not — a Catholic priest.

The archdiocese claimed that Cabilogan is not Roman Catholic, and instead belongs to the Aglipayan Church.

Cabilogan has since severed himself from the Aglipayans, though, according to the archbishop.

“Let it be known that Fr. Algerico Cabilogan Jr. is not a Catholic priest and is prohibited from exercising any kind of ministry among the faithful of the Archdiocese of Palo,” stressed Du in a circular.

Reports reaching the Palo chancery revealed that Cabilogan has been administering the sacraments to Catholics.

“Asserting his ‘priestly personality’, he went as far as celebrating sacraments among the Catholic faithful,” Du said.

The archbishop urged the faithful to refrain from entertaining and participating in activities with the said “false pastor”.

June 19, 2018

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 21:00
Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 1 KGS 21:17-29

After the death of Naboth the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite:
“Start down to meet Ahab, king of Israel,
who rules in Samaria.
He will be in the vineyard of Naboth,
of which he has come to take possession.
This is what you shall tell him,
‘The LORD says: After murdering, do you also take possession?
For this, the LORD says:
In the place where the dogs licked up the blood of Naboth,
the dogs shall lick up your blood, too.'”
Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me out, my enemy?”
“Yes,” he answered.
“Because you have given yourself up to doing evil in the LORD’s sight,
I am bringing evil upon you: I will destroy you
and will cut off every male in Ahab’s line,
whether slave or freeman, in Israel.
I will make your house like that of Jeroboam, son of Nebat,
and like that of Baasha, son of Ahijah,
because of how you have provoked me by leading Israel into sin.”
(Against Jezebel, too, the LORD declared,
“The dogs shall devour Jezebel in the district of Jezreel.”)
“When one of Ahab’s line dies in the city,
dogs will devour him;
when one of them dies in the field,
the birds of the sky will devour him.”
Indeed, no one gave himself up to the doing of evil
in the sight of the LORD as did Ahab,
urged on by his wife Jezebel.
He became completely abominable by following idols,
just as the Amorites had done,
whom the LORD drove out before the children of Israel.

When Ahab heard these words, he tore his garments
and put on sackcloth over his bare flesh.
He fasted, slept in the sackcloth, and went about subdued.
Then the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite,
“Have you seen that Ahab has humbled himself before me?
Since he has humbled himself before me,
I will not bring the evil in his time.
I will bring the evil upon his house during the reign of his son.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 51:3-4, 5-6AB, 11 AND 16

R. (see 3a) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.

R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight.”

R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Turn away your face from my sins,
and blot out all my guilt.
Free me from blood guilt, O God, my saving God;
then my tongue shall revel in your justice.

R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Alleluia JN 13:34

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I give you a new commandment;
love one another as I have loved you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 5:43-48

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Today's Readings Homilies

Samar bishops to gov’t: ‘Break chain of impunity’

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 20:41

By CBCPNews

June 18, 2018

SAMAR

3 Samar bishops recently denounced what they believe to be a “culture of impunity.”

The Catholic bishops of Samar Island called for the breaking of the “culture of impunity” in relation to the ongoing killings in the country.

In a statement, Bishops Isabelo Abarquez of Calbayog, Crispin Varquez of Borongan and Emmanuel Trance urged the government to take effective measures to bring perpetrators of killings to justice.

They also called on the authorities to address impunity through impartial investigations and judicial processes.

“We are concerned [by] the alarming system of justice in our country wherein perpetrators of similar crimes are not held accountable,” they said.

The bishops made the appeal after the regular assembly of the Samar Island Partnership for Peace and Development (SIPPAD) held in Catarman, Northern Samar on June 14.

SIPPAD is a partnership of the Church, government, academe, and civil society in the provinces of Samar, Northern Samar, and Eastern Samar.

The bishops are also standing up against the attacks and killings of clergymen in recent months.

They said the series of killings and the increasing impunity of perpetrators in our country can never be justified.

“Hence, to kill a priest or a Filipino or anyone for whatever reason or intention is very much un-Christian, un-Filipino, and extremely irrational,” the prelates added.

“We earnestly call also on our people to pray for peace and healing of our nation, for the victims of the senseless killings in our country, and for the safety of all clergy and the religious,” they said.

Pope says abortion of sick, disabled children reflects Nazi mentality

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 18:56

Pope Francis. DANIEL IBANEZ/CNA

By Elise Harris

Catholic News Agency

June 18, 2018

VATICAN— In a speech to a family association Saturday, Pope Francis again stressed that God’s vision of the family is between a man and a woman, and compared the abortion of children who are sick or disabled to a Nazi mentality.

“I’ve heard that it’s fashionable, or at least usual, that when in the first few months of pregnancy they do studies to see if the child is healthy or has something, the first offer is: let’s send it away,” the pope said June 16, referring to the trend of aborting sick or disabled children.

This, he said, is “the murder of children…to get a peaceful life an innocent [person] is sent away…We do the same as the Nazis to maintain the purity of the race, but with white gloves.”

“It’s an atrocity but we do the same thing,” he said, according to Italian media.

Pope Francis spoke to members of the Forum of Family Associations, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

His words on abortion come just days after his home country of Argentina voted June 14 in favor of a bill that would legalize abortion as early as the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. The comments also come just over a month ahead of his Aug. 25-26 trip to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families, which will feature Jesuit Fr. James Martin as a keynote speaker on how to be welcoming to the LGBT community.

During his speech, Francis tossed his prepared remarks, telling participants that a prepared text “seems a bit cold,” according to Italian newspaper La Stampa.

The pope, the paper reported, said it is “painful” to think that society would accept the killing of children simply because they are sick or disabled, but this is the current mentality.

On the family, he noted that in modern society “one speaks of different types of family,” defining the term in different ways.

“Yes, it’s true that family is an analogous word, yes one can also say ‘the family of stars,’ ‘the family of trees,’ ‘the family of animals,’” he said, but stressed that “the family in the image of God is only one, that of man and woman…marriage is a wonderful sacrament.”

Turning to his 2016 post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis said that some have reduced the document to “you can, you can’t,” referring to the debate surrounding access to the sacraments for the divorced and remarried in the document’s eighth chapter.

“They have understood nothing,” he said, explaining that his exhortation “does not hide problems,” but goes beyond mere case studies. To understand the text, he said, one must read chapter four on the spirituality of everyday life, which he said is the “is the core” of the document.

Francis then pointed to the emphasis placed on marriage preparation in Amoris Laetitia, saying the family “is a beautiful adventure and today, I say it with pain, we see that many times we think of starting a family, getting married, as if it were a lottery. We go and if it works, it works, if not we end it and start again.”

What is needed, he said, is “a catechumenate for marriage…men and women are needed who help young people to mature.”

And this begins with small things, such as marriage preparation, he said, adding that “it’s important to love each other and receive the sacrament, and then have the party you want.” However, it is never acceptable for “the second to take the place of the most important.”

He also spoke about the importance of educating one’s children, but noted that this is not easy for parents, especially in a virtual world, which “they know better than us.”

The pope also pointed to the increasing difficulty for families to spend time with their children, especially in times of social and economic crisis.

“To earn money today one has to have two jobs, the family is not considered,” he said, and encouraged parents to take up this “cross” and the excessive hours of work, while also spending time playing with their children.

“Children are the greatest gift,” he said, even when they are sick. Children, he said, must be “received as they come, as God sends them.”

However, alluding to the growing trend to be “childless by choice,” Francis noted that there are people who simply don’t want children, and pointed to a couple who did not want to have kids, but who instead had three dogs and two cats.

Francis closed his speech talking about the need for patience in married life, saying “there are life situations of strong crisis, terrible, and even times of infidelity come.”

“There are many women – but also at times men – who in silence wait, looking the other way, waiting for their husband to return to being faithful.” This, he said, is “the holiness that forgives because it loves.”

Sr. Fox stays for now: DOJ says BI has ‘no legal basis’ to cancel nun’s visa

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 18:21
Sr. Patricia Fox speaks to journalists during a press conference in Quezon City, April 26, 2018. ROY LAGARDE

By Roy Lagarde

June 18, 2018

Manila, Philippines

The Department of Justice temporarily halted the leave order against Australian nun Sr. Patricia Fox , allowing her to stay in the country for now.

In a resolution issued Monday, DOH Secretary Menardo Guevarra granted Fox’s petition to nullify the order of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) that forfeited the 71-year old nun’s missionary visa.

Guevarra argued that the BI’s forfeiture of Fox’s missionary visa over alleged participation in partisan political activities was “without legal basis”.

He explained that while the immigration laws give the bureau broad powers in regulating the entry and stay of aliens in the country, visa forfeiture “is not among those powers”.

“What the BI did in this case is beyond what the law provides, that is why it has to be struck down,” Guevarra said.

The DOJ chief ordered the BI “to ascertain whether the charge and the evidence against Fox make out a case for visa cancellation, for which specific grounds are stated in the law”.

“The BI treated this as a case for visa forfeiture instead of for visa cancellation. As a result, the Bureau has yet to decide whether the supposed actions of Fox do indeed justify the cancellation of her visa. It would therefore be premature for us at the DOJ to decide that matter now,” he said.

Guevarra also directed the BI to hear the visa cancellation case along with the deportation case against Fox which is already pending with Bureau.

“Until a final resolution of the visa cancellation and/or deportation proceedings is reached, or until the expiration of her missionary visa, whichever comes first, Sr. Fox may continue to perform her duties as a missionary in the Philippines,” he added.

Fox has welcomed the DOJ order and reiterated her willingness to stay and serve the country’s poor.

“We will just have to wait and see what happens, whether that (DOJ decision on the missionary visa) affects the deportation case, because that is separate from the visa issue,” she said.

Laguna bishop speaks out against gun-toting priests

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 15:29

Catholics join the penitential pilgrimage walk along the streets in Dagupan City to condemn the continued killings in the country, June 18, 2018. PHOTO FROM THE ARCHDIOCESE OF LINGAYEN-DAGUPAN

By Roy Lagarde

June 18, 2018

Manila, Philippines

Bishop Buenaventura Famadico of San Pablo did not mince words in warning his priests who reportedly carry guns for self defence.

The bishop said over Radio Veritas that he is against the idea of arming priests in the wake of recent attacks on clergymen.

“Personally, I do not approve of priests owning a gun for whatever purposes,” said Famadico, who also heads the Commission on Clergy of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported on Sunday that some priests in the San Pablo diocese are arming themselves for protection — given that three clerics have been assassinated in the past few months.

Famadico said he would discuss the issue with his priests during their regular clergy assembly on Monday.

“We will discuss it in our clergy assembly to arrive at a common policy,” he said.

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan criticized priests who carry guns, even if it is for their personal safety.

“They might want to consider leaving the priesthood and joining the police or the military instead,” David said. “We don’t even have to dwell on the morality of it; it is unpriestly, to say the least.”

He added that priests arming themselves need “serious counselling as to what the option to carry a gun for personal protection is telling them about themselves”.

While he is also against arming priests, Archbishop Rolando Tirona of Nueva Caceres urged the government to address the spate of killings in the country.

“That’s how serious the situation had become. What triggers this situation (priests arming themselves)? Is there a break down of law?” Tirona said.

American Medical Association urged to keep stance against assisted suicide

Sun, 06/17/2018 - 23:48

By Kevin Jones / Catholic News Agency

June 18, 2018

Washington D.C., USA

The American Medical Association voted this week to return to committee a report recommending continued opposition to physician assisted suicide – a move that commentators have called a missed opportunity to stand up for the value of human life.

“For more than two decades the nation’s most prominent and largest association of physicians vocally opposed physician-assisted suicide,” Dr. Peter T. Morrow, M.D., president of the Catholic Medical Association, said June 12. He said the national delegates’ refusal to accept the recommendation was “hugely disappointing and frankly disturbing.”

Morrow said that since the AMA’s founding in 1847, its ethics code has seen physician-assisted suicide as always “fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer.”

“Our mission at the CMA is to continue to focus on educating our patients on palliative care and hospice and improving access to those much-needed end of life services that include emotional and spiritual support,” he added.

AMA’s House of Delegates, meeting in Chicago June 11, narrowly voted not to accept the report recommending that they continue their stance of opposing physician assisted suicide. About 56 percent of delegates voted for the report to undergo further review. The association has about 240,000 members in the U.S., with membership including medical doctors, doctors of osteopathic medicine, and medical students.

The rejected AMA committee report is the product of two years’ work. It cited concerns that assisted suicide’s use might expand from mentally competent, terminally ill adults to children, people with psychiatric disorders, or people with socioeconomic challenges.

The report backed continued use of the phrase “assisted suicide” rather than in “aid in dying” or “death with dignity.” Justifying this decision, it said “ethical deliberation and debate is best served by using plainly descriptive language.” It added: “despite its negative connotations, the term ‘physician assisted suicide’ describes the practice with the greatest precision.”

Marie T. Hilliard, a nurse who is director of bioethics and public policy at the National Catholic Bioethics Center, said her organization would have preferred the committee report be accepted.

“But the good news is the AMA did not change their position,” she said. “They’re going to study their council’s recommendation for another year. It means we continue to work.”

During the AMA’s debate on the assisted suicide report, its backers said a change in position would go against thousands of years of medicine, including the Hippocratic Oath.

“It’s the antithesis of why you want to become a doctor or a healer,” said delegate Dr. Thomas Sullivan, Massachusetts Medical Society president, according to the Chicago Tribune. Sullivan advocated better palliative and hospice care and better psychological support rather than assisted suicide.

Some delegates said they thought it was important to support members who aid in assisted suicide where it is legal.

Dr. Theodore Mazer, president of the California Medical Association, objected that the guidance puts these physicians “at risk of being in conflict with the (AMA’s) code of medical ethics.”

Physician-assisted suicide is legal by law in the District of Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Vermont, and Colorado; and in Montana through a state supreme court ruling. It will become legal in Hawaii next year. A bill to legalize assisted suicide is under consideration in Indiana.

Matt Valliere, executive director of the Patients’ Rights Action Fund, said the AMA vote is “a lost opportunity and a failure to stand against a policy that has grave consequences for everyone, but especially persons living with illness, disabilities, or socio-economic disadvantage.”

“Assisted suicide is not medical care,” Valliere said June 12. He said the vote decision “does not take into account that this bad public policy puts vulnerable patients at high risk for coercion, mistakes and even abuse.”

The AMA’s current guidance describes physician-assisted suicide as “fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer.” It would be “difficult or impossible to control” and would pose “serious societal risks.”

While it is “understandable, though tragic” that some patients in extreme duress from their suffering may decide that death is preferable to life, “permitting physicians to engage in assisted suicide would ultimately cause more harm than good.”

The guidance says physicians should not abandon a patient once a cure is determined impossible. They must respect patient autonomy, provide good communication and emotional support, and must provide appropriate comfort care and pain control.

Speaking to CNA, Valliere said there could be many reasons why certain delegates didn’t vote to affirm the report.

Like-minded physicians who oppose assisted suicide should join the AMA and become active in their state delegations and work to become delegates, he added.

“They can and should also be discussing with their colleagues the very real dangers that assisted suicide public policy and practice pose,” he said. Many voting delegates come from other areas of medicine with limited involvement with death and dying.

Organizations like the 140,000-member American College of Physicians, the second-largest national physicians’ organization, recently reaffirmed their opposition to assisted suicide.

The decision comes amid a significant increase in suicide in the U.S. On June 7, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the suicide rate has risen steadily in almost every U.S. state, and 25 percent nationwide, in the period from 1999 to 2016. Nearly 40,000 Americans died by suicide in 2016, twice the number of homicides that year.

Valliere reflected on the tension behind opposing some suicides and advocating suicide for others.

“When some people get suicide prevention, and others get suicide help based on health or disability status, that’s a clear problem of unequal protection under the law,” he said.

He warned that assisted suicide could undo decades of efforts by disability activists. Many in the disability community, for instance, live “full professional lives,” have children, and are active members of their communities.

“And yet, if they didn’t have a ventilator, they’d be dead,” he said.

The legal definition of “terminal illness” is different than the clinical definition. Some laws such as Oregon’s consider diabetes a qualifying terminal illness for assisted suicide.

“So if someone like my father, who has diabetes and has been on insulin for half his life, could be having a bad year, fall into deep acute depression, and go off his insulin, they would declare him terminal according to assisted suicide public policy. He would qualify for the law,” warned Valliere.

Malacañang condemns killing of Nueva Ecija priest

Sun, 06/17/2018 - 23:48

​A woman weeps in front of the coffin containing Fr. Richmond Nilo’s remains. RYAN DAYAO’S FB ACCOUNT

By Joel Cristobal

June 17, 2018

MANILA

Malacañang on Monday strongly denounced the killing of Nueva Ecija priest Fr. Richmond Nilo.

During a media conference, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque vowed that government authorities will prioritize the case investigation of the slain 40-year old priest.

On June 10, Nilo was preparing for a 6:00 Sunday Mass at the Nuestra Senora de la Nieve Chapel in Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija when an unidentified gunman shot him through the chapel’s window.

“Kinokondena po natin ang pagpatay itong sa pari na taga Nueva Ecija. Talaga po na bibigyan natin ng prioridad ang pagiimbestiga sa pagpatay kay Father,” Roque said in a Palace briefing via People’s Television 4.

“Nababahala po ang gobyerno, kagaya ng pagpatay sa isang mamahayag. Kapag pinatay mo ang isang pari, nilalabag mo hindi lang ang karapatan na mabuhay pati na rin ang karapatan ng malayang pananampalataya,” Roque added.

Roque said he will set a meeting with Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director-General Oscar Albalyade regarding Nilo’s murder case.

Priest killings

Nilo, former president of the College of the Immaculate Conception in Cabanaturan City, was the third clergy member killed in the span of six months,

According to a Philippine Star report published on June 12, Nilo’s murder came 2 months before his public debate with an Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) official.

His death was also followed by the killing of Fr. Mark Ventura, an anti-mining advocate, who was gunned down by riding-in-tandem killers at a gymnasium in Gattaran, Cagayan on April 29.

In Dec. 2017, 72-year old priest Fr. Marcelito Palaez was killed by motorcycle-riding suspects after he facilitated the release of a political prisoner in Nueva Ecija.

Meanwhile, an attack on another priest, Fr. Rey Urmeneta also happened on June 7 in Calamba City, Laguna. He survived the assassination attempt and was rushed to a nearby hospital due to injuries.

‘No empirical basis’

When asked if President Rodrigo Duterte’s tirades against the Catholic Church encourages assailants to pursue violent acts against Church officials, Roque denied this, saying, “There is not enough empirical basis for that.”

“Ang masasabi ko lang po itong kultura ng impunity ay naririyan na po bago pa pumasok ang ating president,” he said in the same briefing.

Roque said extra-legal killings are no longer new in the Duterte administration and can already be traced as far back as former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s (GMA) term.

“Kung maalala niyo [sabi] nung dating UN Special Rapporteur, as of the time GMA, already confirmed that there is [already] a breach to right to life as far as extra-legal killings are concerned,” Roque said.

Roque was referring to the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions Philip Alston’s report about summary executions of leftist rebels allegedly led by state troops in Mindanao.

Novena for North Korea sheds light on issues beyond denuclearization

Sun, 06/17/2018 - 23:43

North and South Korea flags. cigdem

By Courtney Grogan / Catholic News Agency

June 18, 2018

Seoul, South Korea

Following two historic summits involving North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Un, South Korea’s bishops are calling on Catholics to pray a novena for nine specific intentions for the Korean peninsula June 17 – 25.

The novena culminates on June 25, the annual “Day of Prayer for the Reconciliation and Unity of the Korean People.”

This novena is by no means a new endeavor for the Korean bishops, who have been leading Catholics in prayer for the reconciliation and unity of the divided Korean peninsula for decades. According to Archbishop Kim Hee-joong of Gwangju, Korean Catholics have observed June 25 as a day of prayer the Korean peninsula since 1965.

The first documented novena for Korean reconciliation and unity was in June 1993, a time when North Korea was beginning its descent into a famine caused by the collapse of their Communist economy, which had formerly been sustained by a heavy reliance on the Soviet Union. It is estimated that 500,000 to 600,000 people died in North Korean famine from 1993 to 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

A novena is nine days of consecutive prayer for a particular intention, often appealing for the intercession of a saint. It is modeled after the nine days the apostles spent in prayer between the time of Jesus’ ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

This year’s nine prayer intentions capture the complexity of the issues facing the peninsula in 2018:

June 17: Pray for the healing of a divided nation

Nearly 3 million Korean people died, 10 percent of its overall population, in the brutal Korean War from 1950 to 1953. But the Korean peninsula is technically still at war, 65 years after the armistice signed in 1953.

Since the division of the Korean peninsula along the 38th parallel, the North and South have significantly diverged economically and culturally.

On April 27, the leaders of the two Koreas signed the Panmunjom Declaration in which they committed to pursue future meetings with the goal of declaring an official end to the Korean War.

June 18: Pray for divided families

Hundreds of thousands of people were permanently separated from their families by the division of the Korean peninsula. According to South Korea’s Ministry of Reunification, fewer than half of South Koreans divided from their family members are still alive, and their average age is 81.

The North and South Korean governments have occasionally held tear-filled reunions for the divided families. At one reunion in 2015, an 85-year-old wife was reunited with her husband, whom she had not seen in 65 years. They had 12 hours to spend together before they had to return to their respective countries.

June 19: Pray for our North Korean brothers and sisters

Twenty-five million people live in North Korea, the country with one of the worst human rights records in the world. A United Nations investigation in 2014 produced a 372-page report that documented crimes against humanity, including execution, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, forced abortions, and knowingly causing prolonged starvation.

There are currently an estimated 80,000 to 120,000 people in North Korea’s six political prison camps, in which the U.S. State Department has found evidence of starvation, forced labor, and torture.

June 20: Pray for North Korean defectors

There are currently 31,530 North Korean defectors living in South Korea, according to the unification ministry. Nearly all North Korean defectors escape by crossing the northern border into China before embarking on another dangerous journey to escape China, which repatriates escaped North Koreans discovered on Chinese soil. Many women refugees have been sold into sex trafficking in China.

PTSD is common in North Korean defectors after surviving such a journey, and many struggle to adjust to the South, where they often face discrimination. Catholics have been working with North Korean defectors for years to help them adjust to South Korean society.

June 21: Pray for the leaders of North and South Korea

Kim Jong Un was 26 years-old when he became the leader of North Korea in 2011, following the death of his father Kim Jong Il. He is the third “Supreme Leader” in the Kim family dynasty begun by his grandfather Kim Il Sung.

Kim made history in 2018 by crossing the military demarcation line into South Korea to meet the South Korean president in April and then being the first North Korean leader to meet an American president in June. While it is unclear whether this is an indication of Kim’s willingness to make serious changes in North Korea, the South Korean bishops request prayers for Kim Jong Un.

Moon Jae-In became president of South Korea in May 2017 after his predecessor was impeached on corruption charges. Moon is a practicing Catholic, former human rights attorney, and the son of North Korean refugees. He prioritized peaceful diplomacy with the north at a time when tensions with North Korea were high.

June 22: Pray for the evangelization of North Korea

In 1945, there were about 50,000 Catholics registered in parishes in what is now North Korea, according to the Korean Bishops Conference, with more than double that number of Protestant Christians. Before the Korean War, Pyongyang was referred to as the “Jerusalem of the East” and was considered a center of Christianity in Northeast Asia.

Just before the Korean War broke in 1950, most of the priests who were in North Korea were captured, killed, or disappeared, according to the Korean Bishops Conference. The beatification process has begun for 40 monks and sisters of Tokwon Benedictine Abbey who were martyred by the Communists.

In 1988, the “Korean Catholic Association” created by the Communist government registered 800 members. This association is not recognized by the Vatican, but is one of three state-sponsored churches that operate in North Korea under strict supervision of the Communist authorities.

Mass is occasionally celebrated in Pyongyang’s Changchung Cathedral when a foreign priest is on an official visit to the country, but on Sundays the liturgy of the word is usually celebrated by state-appointed layperson, explained Father Lee Eun-hyung in an interview with Aid to the Church in Need.

Persecution of Christians is worse in North Korea than anywhere else in the world, according to the World Watch List by Open Doors, who estimates that there could be as many as 300,000 Christians practicing their faith underground in North Korea. Christians within the atheist state have faced arrest, re-education in a labor camp, or, in some cases, execution for their faith.

Pastors who have traveled to North Korea with the hope of secretly evangelizing have been arrested, but Christian organizations in Seoul continue to broadcast the Gospel via radio into the North with the hope that someone will find a way to tune into the signal.

June 23: Pray for the various exchanges between North and South Korea

One part of the Panmunjom Declaration signed by both Korean leaders is a commitment to more cooperative exchanges between the two countries. In the past, these exchanges have been both cultural and economic. The theme of the South Korean bishops’ annual symposium this year will look at the future of Inter-Korean exchange and cooperation on June 21 at the Catholic University of Daegu.

On June 13, the South Korean ministry approved an official exchange program between students from Seoul National University and Kim Il Sung University, the leading universities of the two countries respectively.

June 24: Pray for the true reconciliation of the North and the South

“Reconciliation” is a word that the South Korean bishops frequently use when discussing North Korea. “Until the day finally arrives when peace is permanently established on the Korean Peninsula and our divided people are united, the Catholic Church in Korea shall continue to accompany the journey towards the reconciliation and unity of the Korean people with one accord,” said Archbishop Kim Hee-joong on April 27.

Since the division, both countries have produced significant propaganda dehumanizing each other. The novena prayer (see below) includes this line, “Forgive us our slander and fighting with one another and heal the wounds of division, grant us the grace of reconciliation.”

June 25: Pray for the peaceful reunification of the Korean people

For many Korean Christians, the peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula is the ultimate goal. “Just as the church in Germany took an important role in the reunification of East and West Germany, the Korean church will raise our voice for the peaceful co-existence of two Koreas,” said Father Timothy Lee Eun-hyeong, the secretary of the bishops’ Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People in 2017.

“The Korean nation is symbolic of a world divided and not yet able to become one in peace and justice,” said Saint John Paul II on a papal trip to South Korea in 1989, “yet there is a way forward. True peace – the shalom which the world urgently needs – springs eternally from the infinitely rich mystery of God’s love.”

The pope saint continued, “As Christians we are convinced that Christ’s Paschal Mystery makes present and available the force of life and love which overcomes all evil and all separation.”

Here is the English translation of the South Korean bishops’ novena prayer:

Novena prayer for reconciliation and unity of the Korean people

Lord, You have created us in Your own image and likeness.

Make us daily more like You.

You have made us one in love.

Strengthen our love for one another.

O Lord, Your desire is for peace among us.

May peace be restored on this peninsula.

Forgive us our slander and fighting with one another and heal the wounds of division, grant us the grace of reconciliation.

O Lord, You desire the unity of all people. Heal the pain of separation that divides us.

Make us aware of our mutual indifference and help us strive for unity as we share all we have with one another.

Help us to respect and love one another and so bring about peaceful reunification.

Give us faith, Lord, to believe in You and let the Kingdom of God reign in this land.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Mary, Queen of Peace, Pray for us!

All Korean Martyr Saints, Pray for us!

June 18, 2018

Sun, 06/17/2018 - 23:10
Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 1 KGS 21:1-16

Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel
next to the palace of Ahab, king of Samaria.
Ahab said to Naboth, “Give me your vineyard to be my vegetable garden,
since it is close by, next to my house.
I will give you a better vineyard in exchange, or,
if you prefer, I will give you its value in money.”
Naboth answered him, “The LORD forbid
that I should give you my ancestral heritage.”
Ahab went home disturbed and angry at the answer
Naboth the Jezreelite had made to him:
“I will not give you my ancestral heritage.”
Lying down on his bed, he turned away from food and would not eat.

His wife Jezebel came to him and said to him,
“Why are you so angry that you will not eat?”
He answered her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite
and said to him, ‘Sell me your vineyard, or,
if you prefer, I will give you a vineyard in exchange.’
But he refused to let me have his vineyard.”
His wife Jezebel said to him,
“A fine ruler over Israel you are indeed!
Get up.
Eat and be cheerful.
I will obtain the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite for you.”

So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and,
having sealed them with his seal,
sent them to the elders and to the nobles
who lived in the same city with Naboth.
This is what she wrote in the letters:
“Proclaim a fast and set Naboth at the head of the people.
Next, get two scoundrels to face him
and accuse him of having cursed God and king.
Then take him out and stone him to death.”
His fellow citizens—the elders and nobles who dwelt in his city—
did as Jezebel had ordered them in writing,
through the letters she had sent them.
They proclaimed a fast and placed Naboth at the head of the people.
Two scoundrels came in and confronted him with the accusation,
“Naboth has cursed God and king.”
And they led him out of the city and stoned him to death.
Then they sent the information to Jezebel
that Naboth had been stoned to death.

When Jezebel learned that Naboth had been stoned to death,
she said to Ahab,
“Go on, take possession of the vineyard
of Naboth the Jezreelite that he refused to sell you,
because Naboth is not alive, but dead.”
On hearing that Naboth was dead, Ahab started off on his way
down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite,
to take possession of it.

Responsorial Psalm PS 5:2-3AB, 4B-6A, 6B-7

R. (2b) Lord, listen to my groaning.

Hearken to my words, O LORD,
attend to my sighing.
Heed my call for help,
my king and my God!

R. Lord, listen to my groaning.

At dawn I bring my plea expectantly before you.
For you, O God, delight not in wickedness;
no evil man remains with you;
the arrogant may not stand in your sight.

R. Lord, listen to my groaning.

You hate all evildoers.
You destroy all who speak falsehood;
The bloodthirsty and the deceitful
the LORD abhors.

R. Lord, listen to my groaning.

Alleluia PS 119:105

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A lamp to my feet is your word,
a light to my path.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 5:38-42

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
9An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.)
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one to him as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand him your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go with him for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.”

Today's Readings Homilies

Baguio to observe ‘Day of Reparation’

Sun, 06/17/2018 - 21:37

Baguio Bishop Victor Bendico (center) IMMACULATE CONCEPTION PARISH SABLAN

By CBCPNews

June 17, 2018

BAGUIO City

Joining Lingayen Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas’ call to observe a national “Day of Reparation” for the recent killings of priests, the most recent of which being the shooting of Fr. Richmond Nilo, the diocese of Baguio will be ringing its bells and offering all its Masses on June 18 for “the sins of sacrilege and calumny hurled against our priests and bishops.”

“We, Christ’s faithful, in the Diocese of Baguio express our sadness over the murder of Fr. Richmond V. Nilo, parish priest of St. Vincent, Ferrer in Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija. What is becoming of our beloved country and our respective communities? To what end will these killings be?,” reads a statement issued by Baguio Bishop Victor Bendico.

The prelate decried the “worldy powers” at work in the country.

“Strength is now shown by the way how we become disrespectful and even have no sense of the sacred or fear of the Lord. Fr. Richmond was gunned down in a chapel – a house of prayer, a house of God. The blood of our brother flowed beside the altar,” added Bendico.

The Diocese of Baguio’s observation of the “Day of Reparation” will be marked by the following:

  • Offering of all the Masses (in the Diocese) “for the sins of blasphemy against God,” among others. Mass presiders will wear “the penitential color of violet.” According to the statement, it will also be a day of fasting and abstinence for the priests, religious, and the rest of the faithful.
  • The Blessed Sacrament will be exposed for one hour, at a time most convenient for the parishioners. The priests must go to confession as well as hear the confessions of the faithful on this day, too.
  • Parish church bells will ring for 15 minutes at 6:00 p.m. to commemorate the time Nilo’s murder.

Bendico expressed the hope that justice will be served in the cases of the recent priest killings.

“We continue to pray for Fr. Richmond and our other brother priests who have been murdered. We pray that justice be given to them. We pray for ourselves too that fear not over run our hearts but the love of God instead to help us live by and uphold the faith,” he adds.

Witness and partners of God’s wonders

Sun, 06/17/2018 - 00:54

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B (Mark 4:26-34)

June 17, 2018

By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB

 

WE live in a world of wonders. Even the simplest flower, the smallest insect, the chicks trotting behind their mother hen, the playful dolphins . . . anything that has life and can give origin to similar beings fills us with amazement. Our faith tells us that all these wonders and, indeed, all that exists come from God and point to Him. He is the Conceptualizer, the Architect, the Artist and the “Caretaker” of the universe.

But the Creator of the universe and of all creatures manifests His power and wisdom in even more amazing ways in the life of intelligent free beings and of mankind as a whole. For them, He has conceptualized a marvelous “Grand Project” which encompasses all human beings and which is meant to be characterized by harmony, peace, solidarity, and love in all its possible manifestations. Unlike many of our projects, this one has 100% assurance of succeeding, in spite of all oppositions, mishaps and setbacks. This is so simply because its originator and supporter is no less than God Himself.

When the Eternal Word came to earth to present and launch it, he called it “THE KINGDOM OF GOD.”  Jesus, God’s incarnate Word, showed the nature and power of the Kingdom through the miracles he worked and the parables he narrated. A question may be asked:  “What can be our role in the realization of the great project of God’s Kingdom?”

The first of today’s parables answers this question by telling us that “The Kingdom of God is like a man who scatters seed in the land.” Much is contained in this simple description of what any farmer does, year after year. The farmer is not the one who makes the seed, nor is he the one who can give the seed the power to sprout and grow and bear fruit. Any honest farmer knows that all these unique features can come from God alone. But this undeniable fact does not make the role of the farmer redundant or less important. For one thing, he “sows” the seed. He does that with intelligence and foresight. Before doing that, he prepares and plows the soil in order that the seed may find it soft and welcoming for it to thrust in it its tender roots in search of the moisture that will enable it to develop its potentials. The farmer also removes the weeds which might compete with the frail shoot and deprive it of the necessary nutrients. These are all factors that contribute to the final result of having an abundant harvest.

This is very much a case of successful “partnership” between God (“the maker of the seed”) and man (the farmer who enables the seed to develop its potentials). Obviously, this partnership is “uneven,” for the role of the producer of the seed is immensely more important than that of the farmer who simply facilitates the development of the seed’s potentials. But it is, nonetheless, a real partnership, and it is God who initiates it.

There is a lesson for all of us here, for we are all “farmers” in one way or another. It is wisdom to “know our place” in the great enterprise of building God’s Kingdom on earth, and to honestly acknowledge this, while doing our best to play our roles in it.

All this tells us that in the great enterprise of the building and growth of God’s Kingdom, God is the “Senior Partner.” But in His love and magnanimity, He promotes us to the role of “junior partners,” that is: free and intelligent instruments in God’s hand in the accomplishment of His project. That’s no little privilege. We should, then, remain humble and grateful, even as we do our best to do our share, constantly bent on carrying out the will of the Master Planner, Senior Partner and Great Achiever. To us, the privilege to rejoice in the fact that, all along, we have been not only witnesses, but also part of it all, as God’s humble co-workers, in the accomplishment of His wonderful project.

Today's Readings Homilies

June 17, 2018

Sun, 06/17/2018 - 00:47
Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 EZ 17:22-24

Thus says the Lord GOD:
I, too, will take from the crest of the cedar,
from its topmost branches tear off a tender shoot,
and plant it on a high and lofty mountain;
on the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it.
It shall put forth branches and bear fruit,
and become a majestic cedar.
Birds of every kind shall dwell beneath it,
every winged thing in the shade of its boughs.
And all the trees of the field shall know
that I, the LORD,
bring low the high tree,
lift high the lowly tree,
wither up the green tree,
and make the withered tree bloom.
As I, the LORD, have spoken, so will I do.

Responsorial Psalm PS 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16

R. (cf. 2a) Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.

It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
to sing praise to your name, Most High,
To proclaim your kindness at dawn
and your faithfulness throughout the night.

R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
The just one shall flourish like the palm tree,
like a cedar of Lebanon shall he grow.
They that are planted in the house of the LORD
shall flourish in the courts of our God.

R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.

They shall bear fruit even in old age;
vigorous and sturdy shall they be,
Declaring how just is the LORD,
my rock, in whom there is no wrong.

R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.

Reading 2 2 COR 5:6-10

Brothers and sisters:
We are always courageous,
although we know that while we are at home in the body
we are away from the Lord,
for we walk by faith, not by sight.
Yet we are courageous,
and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord.
Therefore, we aspire to please him,
whether we are at home or away.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,
so that each may receive recompense,
according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower.
All who come to him will live forever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 4:26-34

Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and through it all the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”

He said,
“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

Today's Readings Homilies

Father of Knights of Columbus in the Philippines

 

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