Read this week's guidelines and be nourished as you journey with our Community in Cebu.
"I Will Bring Them Back"
March 27 - April 2, 2017
"I Will Bring Them Back To You"
To take this Lenten season as the opportune time to encourage to bring our brothers and sisters back to the Father through the Word. The Word is a gift. Persons are gifts. (Cf. Pope’s Lenten Message 2017)
Objective of the week:
To have that determination in participating in the same mission of Jesus. We are all heirs of the same gift: to be the Word of God. That we may all become the living Word of God
We continue our Lenten journey carrying the 3 key elements that we are invited to live: Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving.
God’s will is to save us, and nothing pleases him more than our coming back to him with true repentance. The heralds of truth and he ministers of divine grace have told us this from the beginning, repeating it in every age. Indeed, God’s desire for our salvation is the primary and pre-eminent sign of his infinite goodness. (Letter:Maximus the Confessor).
In this Lenten season, what we can find is a God who wants to speak to us through his words and action what it meant to be his, when he said,” You will be my people, and I will be your God.”(Eze 36:28b)
Lent draws us back to God’s merciful embrace. It is something that we are not worth experiencing yet our God whose love for us is so enormous makes it possible.
Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we are treated by him, seeking for others the same experience of His merciful love which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we ourselves have also been helped.
To be able to love one another, we must pray much, for prayer gives a clean heart and a clean heart can see God in our neighbor. If now, we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten how to see God in one another. (St. Teresa of Calcultta)
It is in prayer that He opens our eyes to see others not as objects but as children of the same Father whom He wants to gather in His arms.
Lent is a ﬁne time to examine our attitudes toward everyone in our lives. Take time to acknowledge some contribution by someone you have previously overlooked or dismissed as insigniﬁcant and unworthy of recognition. (Pope Francis)
Let us be reminded how He consider us as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that we may announce the praises” of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Pet 2:9)
We are before a God who claims us as his possession, a sacred possession. (Deut.7:6-9). As such, how he treats us, cares for us. How this reality bring us to desire that others could be led also to that same experience, that they too may welcome Jesus into their lives.
The proclamation of the Word of God, preceded and accompanied by prayer and witness of life, will always be the best means for the propagation of faith. We will sow the good seed of the Word in all fields, trusting in the growth that God gives. (FaMVD Statutes #38)
Let us in our humble service joyfully seek to be His servant, out of love for Him by taking small steps to love, letting Him love through us.
“THERE IS JOY IN HEAVEN OVER ONE SINNER WHO REPENTS”
“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
It is our God’s desire that we may live. He is not happy with the death of a sinner. It is for this reason that He sent His only Son. He himself initiates in bringing us back to Him. Let us be one with Him in this desire to bring life. Our Lenten journey is all about life –a life in union with Him.
“GO HOME..I WANT YOU TO LIVE”
Jesus answered them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. A slave does not remain in a household forever, but a son always remains. So if a son frees you, then you will truly be free.
Then he returned to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. Now there was a royal official whose son was ill in Capernaum. 47When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, who was near death. Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” The royal official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “You may go; your son will live.” The man believed what Jesus said to him and left. While he was on his way back, his slaves met him and told him that his boy would live.
GOD continuously invites us to turn back to sin and to go home where we truly belong, where we live in true freedom. This is a great hope for every sinner like us: Having a God who is rich in mercy and compassion.
“BELIEVE. SEEK MY APPROVAL”
I came in the name of my Father, but you do not accept me; yet if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?
Heb 12:1,14 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us. Strive for peace with everyone, and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
If we believe, live. If we live, give. God loves a cheerful giver. God counts on us. He always remembers us for the love He bears his people. Let us carry His same love and be driven by it as we reach out to our brothers and sisters.
WORK AS THE FATHER WORKS
Jn.5:17 “My Father goes on working, and so do I.”
1 Cor 9:19-22
Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible.
To the Jews I became like a Jew to win over Jews; to those under the law I became like one under the law - though I myself am not under the law - to win over those under the law.
To those outside the law I became like one outside the law - though I am not outside God's law but within the law of Christ - to win over those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak. I have become all things to all, to save at least some.
At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place. The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him, they tried to prevent him from leaving them. But he said to them, “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.” And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
Jesus is committed in bringing the Father’s love to all even in the midst of great difficulties. Let us follow the example of Jesus to us, as He did what was required of Him, going from one place to another.
BE YOUR BROTHER’S KEEPER.
He has rescued us that
we may do the same
1 Jn 4:19-21 We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God* whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Then the LORD asked Cain, where is your brother Abel? He answered, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
You were like sheep that had lost their way, but now you have been brought back to follow the Shepherd and Keeper of your souls.
Our concrete way of loving is in giving His Word. What keeps me from bringing the Good News of love to others?
Father, cleanse our hearts from what prevents us from loving more. It is also in order for us to look at one another as our brothers and sisters and not as enemies. We were once without a shepherd like the rest.
TEACH THEM TO YOUR
Or what great nation has statutes and ordinances that are as just as this whole law which I am setting before you today? However, be on your guard and be very careful not to forget the things your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your heart as long as you live, but make them known to your children and to your children’s children, that day you stood before the LORD, your God, at Horeb, when the LORD said to me: Assemble the people for me, that I may let them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me as long as they live in the land and may so teach their children.
Eph 3:7-9Of this I became a minister by the gift of God's grace that was granted me in accord with the exercise of his power. To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ, and to bring to light [for all] what is the plan of the mystery hidden from ages past in God who created all things, so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the principalities and authorities in the heavens.
Gal 6:9-10 Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up. So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all, but especially to those who belong to the family of the faith.
Let us carry the concern for others, to be continuously a sign of hope for the entire humanity as we give them the Word of Life.
5th Sunday of Lent
1st Reading: Ezequiel 37:12-14
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 23:1-3A, 3B-6
2nd Reading: Rom 8:8-11
Gospel: John 11:1-45