Read this week's guidelines and be nourished as you journey with our Community in Cebu.
Create in me a pure heart, O God
(Oct 28 - Nov 3)
Breaking of Love: Sin and its Consequences
To discover that sin is a breakdown of love of self, of others and ultimately a ‘no’ to God’s Life and Love, to the one who loves us most in life, and has given all to us. Sin has serious consequences in us, in others and in the Body of Christ. That seeing Christ crucified may provoke our conversion to Love, a change of heart.
Objective : To recognize one’s sins, ask for forgiveness and change ways of life.
“Whoever is a child of God does not continue to sin, for God’s very nature is in him; and because God is his Father, he cannot continue to sin” (1 Jn 3:9)
Our God, in His loving kindness, cannot just leave us to be in the state of sin, especially when we are in the lowest point in our life. He cannot just be indifferent in seeing us without life at all.
On our part, in realizing the effect and the consequence of the wrong thing we have done, somehow leads us to have that remorse in our hearts. Recognizing our guilt before Him, we find ourselves like that of the psalmist (Ps 51:3-4), “To You alone, Lord, I have sinned. What evil in your sight I have done.”
“Look not on our sins but on the faith of your Church.” This is the petition we asked from our God everytime we approach Him in the eucharist, in being truly sorry for what we have done. We know that with a humble and contrite heart, He will not spurn.
God’s look over our life remains the same despite our sinfulness. We remain to be His loving sons and daughters, even we go astray or far away from Him, doing things that doesn’t please Him at all. Our identity as His beloved child remains. Knowing our God as such, would we still be hesitant to go back to Him? Rather, having acknowledged the wrong thing we have done, together with it goes the desire to have this clean heart. Thus, humbly asking him, “Lord, create in me a clean heart that I may walk anew in your path.” Surely, our God full of compassion on us will give us a new heart.
Living by Faith
Gal 2: 20-21
so that it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. This life that I live now, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave his life for me. I refuse to reject the grace of God. But if a person is put right with God through the Law, it means that Christ died for nothing!
In our sinfulness, God all the more desires for us to come and be reconciled to Him and His Son. To live by faith is to allow Christ to live in us, reconnected to the source of life and love.
Do I choose to trust in God and in His love in whatever state and reality that I face?
Valuing One’s Life
1 Pet 1:18
For you know what was paid to set you free from the worthless manner of life handed down by your ancestors. It was not something that can be destroyed, such as silver or gold;
The choice to fall into sin and be enslaved by it or resist it is given to us by God. Fixing our eyes on Jesus on the cross reminds us that he has already paid the price for our sinfulness.
Do I recognize my sins before God? In the faces of temptation, how am I choosing to live by faith and not to fall into sin again?
A New life with Christ
Col 2:13-15. 17-19
You were at one time spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were Gentiles without the Law. But God has now brought you to life with Christ. God forgave us all our sins; he canceled the unfavorable record of our debts with its binding rules and did away with it completely by nailing it to the cross. And on that cross Christ freed himself from the power of the spiritual rulers and authorities; he made a public spectacle of them by leading them as captives in his victory procession... All such things are only a shadow of things in the future; the reality is Christ. Do not allow yourselves to be condemned by anyone who claims to be superior because of special visions and who insists on false humility and the worship of angels. For no reason at all, such people are all puffed up by their human way of thinking and have stopped holding on to Christ, who is the head of the body. Under Christ's control the whole body is nourished and held together by its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God wants it to grow.
Living our life with faith in Christ opens us to see our real identity as children of God, called to live united in Him and in the Church. So that through this relationship with Jesus, we may bear to another the same love, mercy and forgiveness we have received from God.
Knowing how much God loved me, and despite my own sinfulness, do I take courage and choose to ask for forgiveness to God? Or having received the sacrament of reconciliation, how am I living my new life with Christ?
Putting Off the Old Self
Col 3: 5-11
You must put to death, then, the earthly desires at work in you, such as sexual immorality, indecency, lust, evil passions, and greed (for greed is a form of idolatry). Because of such things God's anger will come upon those who do not obey him. At one time you yourselves used to live according to such desires, when your life was dominated by them. But now you must get rid of all these things: anger, passion, and hateful feelings. No insults or obscene talk must ever come from your lips. Do not lie to one another, for you have put off the old self with its habits and have put on the new self. This is the new being which God, its Creator, is constantly renewing in his own image, in order to bring you to a full knowledge of himself. As a result, there is no longer any distinction between Gentiles and Jews, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarians, savages, slaves, and free, but Christ is all, Christ is in all.
God invites us to dare to be radical by having the courage to stop, to cut, to tear or throw away anything and whatever that prevents us from living a life in truth and in love. It is what we have in our hearts that matters. Lust, anger, greed, resentment, etc. must no longer reside in our hearts as they control how we think and act. Rather, Christ has to be the owner of our hearts that leads us to live as we should, with integrity and dignity.
How am I determined to put off whatever that does not help me to live my life pleasing to Him?
(All Saints Day)
The path of Blessedness
Mt 5:1-12 Jesus saw the crowds and went up a hill, where he sat down. His disciples gathered around him, and he began to teach them:
“Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor; the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!
“Happy are those who mourn; God will comfort them!
“Happy are those who are humble; they will receive what God has promised!
“Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires; God will satisfy them fully!
“Happy are those who are merciful to others; God will be merciful to them!
“Happy are the pure in heart; they will see God!
“Happy are those who work for peace; God will call them his children!
“Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires; the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!
“Happy are you when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of evil lies against you because you are my followers. Be happy and glad, for a great reward is kept for you in heaven. This is how the prophets who lived before you were persecuted.
The path that saints walk which is one of the Beatitudes, is the same path of Jesus. “It’s a path that’s difficult to understand because it goes against the current, but the Lord tells us that whoever goes down this road is happy, that sooner or later, they become happy. (Pope Francis)
Let each of the Beatitudes speak to our hearts and inspire us to live them out. Let it be true in us. Real happiness is when we live in God, with God and for God.
How am I invited to take that path? What else hinders me to walk the way Jesus is leading me?
All Souls Day
Reaping what you plant
Do not deceive yourselves; no one makes a fool of God. You will reap exactly what you plant. If you plant in the field of your natural desires, from it you will gather the harvest of death; if you plant in the field of the Spirit, from the Spirit you will gather the harvest of eternal life.
Today, as we remember our departed loved ones, it creates sadness having lose them. The same thing our God may feel as he lost us, as we go astray from Him. Thus, He invites us to come back humbly to Him. Let us experience His consoling presence as He hears our plea to have this new and pure heart.
In our daily life, we are constantly faced with different challenges and it’s up to us in what field where we want to plant. What do I see as challenges in my journey? What means do I put in order not to be defeated?
1st Reading: Is 25:6-9
2nd Reading: Rom 5:5-11
Gospel: Luke 7:11-17