Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Means to Renew the Face of the Earth

The Lord said, I have come to light a fire on the earth and how I wish it were blazing. How can priests light the world with the fire of the Holy Spirit and so be instruments in renewing the face of the earth? St. Anthony Claret has this to say:

"The prophet asked the Lord: Emitte Spiritum tuum, et creabuntur, et renovabis faciem terrae. Lord, send your spirit upon your priests, and they, filled with this Holy Spirit, will hasten everywhere, like the apostles, and the face of the earth will be changed completely. For the moral earth does the same thing that the physical earth does: if it is well cultivated it yields abundant fruits, but if it is not cultivated it yield nothing but weeds and thorns. Thus people, if they are well cultivated, produce choice fruits of virtue, but if they are abandoned to themselves, they produce nothing but errors and vices. Hence we must work to form good clergy, who are the laborers in the Lord's fields, and we must ask the good Lord of the harvest to send good laborers to his inheritance.

The means assigned to change the face of the earth promptly and easily are the following:

The 1st means is to form good, virtuous, and well-educated priests, and we have no doubt that this will be achieved if we put into practice the means indicated in the present little work.

The 2nd means are missions, which should be repeated every three years in parishes great and small, lasting for a varying number of days, according to the needs of the people.

The 3rd means is that on all Sundays and Feast days of the year, the pastors should preach or read some talk, and teach Christian doctrine and the way to make mental and vocal prayer.

The 4th means is instructing girls and boys in catechism, morals, and religion. Radical reform must begin with the children.

The 5th means is not to allow boys and girls to receive the Eucharist without making a First Communion, preceded by a preparatory retreat, and followed by enrollment in a confraternity, so that they may continue receiving the sacraments monthly or every 2 or 3 months.

The 6th means is to revive those confraternities that are already established in parishes but have fallen off, and have them fulfill their statutes exactly, beginning with a few good and more fervent souls.

The 7th means is to keep Sundays and Feast days holy, not only because God commands it, but also that they may be devoted to spiritual gatherings, frequenting the sacraments and pious reading, so that everyone may keep God's law and pray.

The 8th means is to strive to spread good books.

The 9th means is to practice the 14 works of charity or mercy.

The 10th means is to exhort those who can do so to attend Mass daily, to say a 3rd part of the Rosary, to direct all they do to the greater glory of God, to suffer all afflictions with patience, to walk always in the presence of God, and to receive the holy Sacraments frequently.

St. Anthony Claret, The Well-Instructed Seminarian, Vol 11, Chap. III, 5.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Program for a truly Priestly Life

Emerging from our yearly retreat, I am concerned about how to keep the priestly spirituality. St. Anthony Mary Claret has this program for priests which is worth our consideration:

"If you would not extinguish or sadden the spirit and grace you have received in ordination (for by the grace of God you are what you are), if you would not have received the grace of God in vain, and if, finally, you would like to be a good and faithful servant, then you must distribute your time well in a plan of life which you must keep most faithfully. You may use the one which we are going to trace out for you here, or else use some other that may seem better for you.

1. Every year. You will make a spiritual retreat.
2. Every three months. On the Ember Days, you will call to mind your ordination...
3. Every month. You will have a day of recollection, during which you will read your resolutions.
4. Every week. You will receive the Sacrament of Penance.
5. Every day. You will set the hour for rising, after 6 or 7 hours of sleep, and you will be punctual in rising at that time, without allowing yourself to be misled by Satan into committing an act of sloth.
6. You will offer God all the works of the day.
7. You will have an hour, or at least half an hour, of mental prayer.
8. You will celebrate Holy Mass with devotion, preparing yourself in advance and giving thanks afterwards.
9. You will station yourself in the confessional, even when there may be no one waiting to confess; for if they do not come one day, they will come another, seeing that you give them the opportunity.
10. You will recite the lesser Hours with pauses and with devotion.
11, You will occupy yourself by studying the Holy Bible, the Fathers of the Church, moral and ascetical theology, and you will make a special point of reading Rodriguez.
12. You will dine not only with temperance, but also with mortification, saying the blessing before and grace after meals.
13. After dining and resting a while, you will recite Vespers and Compline.
14. Afterwards, you will commit yourself to studying matters proper to your holy ministry.
15. In the afternoon,you will visit the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle, and you will likewise visit Mary most holy at one of her images.
16. You will visit the sick in their homes or in some hospital or charitable establishment.
17. At night you will recite Matins and Lauds attentively and devoutly before some blessed image.
18. You will recite one part of the Holy Rosary with great fervor.
19. You will have light supper or collation, and this will be very good for both body and soul.
20. You will make two examens: a particular examen on some virtue at noon and night, and a general examen which will include everything that occurred during that day.
21. Finally, you will preview the meditation you are to make on the morrow, and then retire. Once you are in bed, you will think of the time for rising next day, and of the meditation you are going to make.
22. Always. You will wear clerical dress.
23. You will walk in the presence of God and make frequent prayers of aspiration. Especially, whenever the clock strikes, you will consider what Jesus suffered at that hour of His Passion, and you will make a spiritual communion.
24. You will love God with all your heart, and in proof of his love you will keep the precepts of God's holy law and the evangelical counsels.
25. You will keep the sacred vestments and vessels very clean and tidy, and the Church in good array, and and see to it that silence and recollection is kept in it.
26. You will strive with possible zeal for the salvation of souls. You will lead the way with good example, practicing the virtues of humility, chastity, meekness, patience, charity and obedience, without grumbling about the dispositions God has made through your prelate.
27. You will be solicitous and tireless in preaching, catechizing, hearing confessions and administering the other Sacraments.
28. In all your works, think on the Last Things. Thus, consider that life is passing by and death is drawing nigh. Hence, never be idle, but always usefully be employed in prayer, study, the obligations of your holy ministry and, if you have time and place for it, in some manual labor.
29. You will arrange your devotions according to the days of the week, so that you may make them with greater fervor.

Sundays will be in honor of the Blessed Trinity.
Mondays, of your guardian angel.
Tuesday, of your Patron Saint.
Wednesdays, on behalf of the poor.
Thursdays, in honor of the Blessed Sacrament.
Fridays, in memory of the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, and in prayer for the souls in Purgatory. And you will fast.
Saturdays, in honor of Mary. And you will mortify yourself in some day.

St. Anthony Claret, The Well-Instructed Seminarian vol. II, Chapter III, 5.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

On Honor and Money

The pharisees and Herodians began by acknowledging our Lord’s sincerity and detachment from the world: “Teacher, we know you are a truthful man and that you teach the way of God with the truth. And you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion for you do not regard a person’s status.” Rightly did they say so because our Lord was really as they say he was. At the last supper, he spoke about this sense of detachment by saying: “They do not belong to the world as I do not belong to the world.” He was not concerned for earthly honors nor for any human respect. What mattered to him was the favor of the Father who sent him: “Behold my Son, my beloved, in whom my favor rests.”

That is why the question which they posed to him seemed inappropriate: Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not? It seemed inappropriate because the issue at hand was that of money. And why should anyone, after acknowledging our Lord’s sense of detachment from worldly honor, ask him about money? Money issues are asked of worldly people like Donald Trump or Bill Gates. But the Lord? If he did not care much about the honors of the world, why should he care about money? St. Teresa of Jesus makes this point about the corelation of desire for honor and love of money: “In (poverty of spirit) lies great dominion. I say that it gives once again to one who doesn’t care about the world’s good things dominion over them all. What do kings and lords matter to me if I don’t want their riches, or don’t care to please them if in order to do so I would have to displease God in even the smallest thing? Nor do I care about their honors if I have understood that the greatest honor of a poor person lies in the fact of his being truly poor? In my opinion honor and money always go together: anyone who wants honor doesn’t despise money, and anyone who despises money doesn’t care much about honor. Let me be clearly understood, for it seems to me that the desire for honor always bring with it some interest in money or income. It would be a wonder if any poor person were honored in the world; on the contrary, even though he may be worthy of honor, he is little esteemed. True poverty brings with it overwhelming honor. Poverty that is chosen for God alone has no need of pleasing anyone but Him.” (Teresa of Jesus, The Way of Perfection II, 5-6.)

The Lord’s sense of detachment from both honor and money is what great men are really made of. Before his retirement, Cardinal Rosales said that the moment Rome appoints a new archbishop of Manila, he will take his maleta and ride to the retirement home in Lipa, Batangas. Last Thursday, when the appointment of the new archbishop of Manila was announced, the good Cardinal was asked what legacy was he leaving the archdiocese. He replied: “Legacy? What legacy? Forget me.” Here was a man who was truly detached from both money and honor. He cared for neither. And this is what great men are made of.

A man who is truly detached will rightly identify what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God. Because he did not care about Caesar’s favor, he would rightly say that the coin belongs to Caesar but everything else belongs to God…yes, even Caesar belongs to God. Lest Caesar forget, if he has power, it is only because the Lord loaned it to him. To Cyrus the king, the Lord said: “I called you by name, giving you a title, though you knew me not. I am the Lord and there is no other, there is no God but me. It is I who arm you, though you know me not, so that from the rising and setting of the sun, people may know that there is none besides me. I am the Lord, there is no other.”

When a man chooses to serve God and him alone, he finds no need for money nor honor. He is not afraid to lose rich benefactors because he trusts that the Lord will always sufficiently provide for his works. He is not afraid to be judged by human opinion. He is not afraid to lose human respect. The only things that matters is what God would say. The only words he desires to hear would be those of the Lord who, at the end of his service, would say to him: “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the reward prepared for you by my Father in heaven!”

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Senate shelves reproductive health bill

The Philippine Senate temporarily shelved the Reproductive bill in the light of more pressing concerns like the National Budget for 2012. I find it significant that this happened on the Feast of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. What a wonderful tribute to the mystery of Motherhood! Prayers, especially the Rosary, are really answered. When the Bishops of the Philippines had Senator Tito Sotto as their guest, they talked about the status of the RH bill in the Senate. When asked by the bishops about what they could do for to help oppose the passage of a reproductive health bill, Senator Sotto said, "Prayers are really a big help." Thereupon, Bishop Nereo Odchimar, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, wrote to all Parish Priests to ask the faithful to offer their Rosaries during the month of October for the intention of the opposition to the passage of the RH bill.

Now that the bill is temporarily shelved, we should further intensify our Rosary campaign. We should not relent! Like wise soldiers, we should take advantage of the "truce" to store up our armaments to ensure advantage over the enemy when war breaks out. Let us say more Rosaries, increase the treasury of merits, and brace ourselves for fierce spiritual battle come January. After all, our enemies are not just human beings but powers and principalities in high places.

Blessed be the Great Mother of God, Mary most holy!

Senate shelves reproductive health bill

Monday, October 10, 2011

Come to the Feast

For the past 3 Sundays, we have been listening to parables that likened the Kingdom of God to a vineyard in which the Lord invited us to work and collect for him the harvest. However, lest we say that religion is an oppressive toil for a God who is nothing but a taskmaster, the Lord gives us a parable that likens the His Kingdom to a wedding feast. Instead of hearing the command, “Go and work in my vineyard,” we hear today a very cordial invitation: “Everything is ready. Come to the feast.” It is a feast that the Lord prepared for us on His holy mountain – a feast of “juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.” It is an invitation too good to resist. First of all, the one who prepared and invited us to this feast is the Lord our God. Better than an English Royal Wedding, the affair is the wedding Feast of God’s Son to His Bride, the Church. Who of us would ever think that he is worthy to be invited as a wedding guest to the marriage of the Lamb and of his Bride? This is indeed an honor too great to pass.

And yet, the surprising thing of all is that so many refuse this invitation because they think they have better things to do: one went to his farm and another to his business. And this is the problem of our modern world: it has measured life according to a paradigm of achievements or accomplishments that it has forgotten the value of feasts. Things have become too bland for a world that has assumed the likeness of a corporation which is higly concerned with mechanical productivity. And so to keep the physical well being, it simply provides for us the gym where play has become an individualistic routine of exercises. We think that time will be used more wisely in work than in accepting the invitation to “Come to the feast.”

And this is a pitiful situation because we do not know the joy we are missing. Being too preoccupied with our own affairs, we fail to appreciate the graces that God lavishes upon us and also the beauty of the eternal life to which He invites us. As St. Faustina remarked in her diary: “O Jesus, I see so much beauty scattered around me, beauty foir which I give You constant thanks. But I see that some souls are like stone, always cold and unfeeling. Even miracles hardly move them. Their eyes are always fixed on their feet, and so they see nothing but themselves.” (Diary 1284.)

God gave us 6 days to work and requires us to return to Him the 7th. He wants to us stop working on the 7th so that we may learn to lift our eyes from being fixed to ourselves and look around to see the wonderful things God has done for us. As He rested on the 7th day to declare the goodness of what He has done, so should we imitate Him in declaring: “:Lord, You are truly good. Everything You have done is good!” Sunday is not a rest day so that we can think about ourselves. It is a rest day so that we can think about God. This is God’s day. This is God’s feast. This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in him!

For once, let us not think about ourselves. For once, let us think about God. Let us trust that we do not lose when we offer this day to Him. Let us trust enough that because we return this day to Him, “God will fully supply whatever you need in accord with the glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Only by doing so that we shall appreciate life for what it truly is. We shall realize that life is more than the food we eat and the clothes we wear. We shall realize that it is a blessing – it is grace upon grace. We shall realize that we are destined for something greater, for something eternal. And then we shall be grateful. “You have surrounded my life with Your tender and loving care, more than I can comprehend, for I will understand Your goodness in its entirety only when the veil is lifted. I desire that my whole life be but one act of thanksgiving to You, O God.” (Diary, 1285.)

Friday, October 7, 2011

On Negligence in Praying the Rosary

"A Christian who does not meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary is very ungrateful to our Lord and shows how little he cares for all that our Divine Savior has suffered to save the world. This attitude seems to show that he little or nothing of the life of Jesus Christ, and that he has never taken the trouble to find out about Him - what He did and what He went through in order to save us.

"A Christian of this kind ought to fear that having never known Jesus Christ or having put Him out of his mind and heart, He will disown him at the Day of Judgment and will hear reproachfully: 'Amen I say to you, I know you not.'

"Let us, then, meditate on the life and suffering of Our Lord by means of the Holy Rosary; let us learn to know Him well and to be grateful for all His blessings so that, at the Day of Judgment, He may number us among His children and His friends."

St. Louis de Montfort, The Secret of the Rosary, 23rd Rose.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Science of the Rosary

"I should like to give you even more reason for embracing this devotion which so many souls have practiced; the Rosary recited with meditation on the mysteries brings about the following marvelous results:

1. it gradually gives us a perfect knowledge of Jesus Christ;
2. it purifies our souls, washing away sin;
3. it gives us victory over all our enemies;
4. it makes it easy for us to practise virtue;
5. it sets us on fire with love of our Blessed Lord;
6. it enriches us with graces and merits;
7. it supplies us with what is needed to pay all our debts to God and to our fellow men, and finally, it obtains all kinds of graces for us from Almighty God.

"The knowledge of Jesus Christ is the science of Christians and the science of salvation; St. Paul says that it surpasses all human sciences in value and perfection. This is true:

1. because of the dignity of its object, which is a God-man compared to Whom the whole universe is but a drop of dew or a grain of sand;
2. because of its helpfulness to us; human sciences, on the other hand, but fill us with smoke and emptiness of pride;
3. and finally, because of its utter necessity: for no one can possibly be saved without the knowledge of Jesus Christ - and yet a man who knows absolutely nothing of any of the other sciences will be saved as long as he is illuminated by the science of Jesus Christ.

"Blessed is the Rosary which gives us this science and knowledge of our Blessed Lord through our meditations on His life, death, passion, and glory."

St. Louis de Montfort, The Secret of the Rosary, 27th Rose.

On Confession

Jesus said to St. Fautina: "Daughter, when you go to confession, to this fountain of My mercy, the Blood and Water which came forth from My Heart always flows down upon your soul and ennobles it. Every time you go to confession, immerse yourself entirely in My mercy, with great trust, so that I may pour the bounty of My grace upon your soul. When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I Myself act in your soul. Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy. Tell souls that from this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely with the with the vessel of trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity. The torrents of grace inundate humble souls. The proud remain always in poverty and misery, because My grace turns away from them to humble souls."

Diary, 1602.

St. Faustina, Doctor of the Church?

One of the graces I have received in my pastorate of the Divine Mercy Parish is the opportunity to read the Diary of St. Faustina: Divine Mercy in my Soul. I am really convinced that one day, she will be declared Doctor of the Church on account of this diary.

"In the Old Covenant I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to My people. Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart. I use punishment when they themselves force Me to do so; My hand is reluctant to take hold of the sword of justice. Before the Day of Justice I am sending the Day of Mercy." (Diary, 1588.)

ZENIT - St. Faustina, Doctor of the Church?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Brick by Brick

I offered Mass for a Charismatic Community last Monday and I was delightfully surprised. Even with the date of the implementation of the use of the new English translation of the Roman Missal (for the Philippines) still a long way off (2012 Advent), the said community is already using it! I was further delighted when, at Holy Communion, the faithful knelt to receive our Lord. And this is not a conservative Latin Mass community but a Charismatic one! Even with the great influence which opponents to the Reform of the reform exert in the Philippine landscape, it seems that little by little, the reform is underway. I know for a fact that this Charismatic community is steeped in Scriptural formation. I am of the belief that a person who takes the Sacred Scripture seriously will begin asking questions about reverence in worship.

ZENIT - Anti-Christian Censorship and New Media


Report Highlights Defects

By Father John Flynn, LC

ROME, OCT. 2, 2011 (Zenit.org).- A report commissioned by the Virginia-based National Religious Broadcasters has revealed substantial problems in the way new media communications platforms treat religion.

Titled "True Liberty in a New Media Age: An Examination of the Threat of Anti-Christian Censorship and Other Viewpoint Discrimination on New Media Platforms," the report looked at many of the leading companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Twitter.

NRB is a non-partisan, international association of Christian communicators according to a description of its mission on its Web site.

While it is true that the new means of communications made possible by the Internet have opened up many possibilities for the exchange of ideas and opinions, at the same time the report expressed concern that a small number of large companies have a lot of control of this industry.

When it comes to religion the report saw real problems. "Our conclusion is that Christian ideas and other religious content face a clear and present danger of censorship on Web-based communication platforms," it stated.

The study revealed a number of ways in which the policies of the new media giants affected religion.


Some of the companies have already banned Christian content, while others have established guidelines that will very probably lead to censorship in the future, the report affirmed. On two occasions Apple has blocked Christian apps on the iTunes App Store due to the religious content.

In fact, the only apps that Apple has blocked due to the views expressed in them are ones that reflect Christian views, according to the report.

In November of 2010, Apple revoked its approval of the Manhattan Declaration App. This declaration was a statement of Christian beliefs about marriage, the sanctity of life and religious liberty. The reason given was that one of the points in the declaration was that homosexual conduct is immoral and this, in Apple's view, was offensive.

Later, in March 2011, Apple also censored the app for Exodus International, a Christian ministry that helps people to leave the homosexual lifestyle. Once again Apple declared that this was offensive and violated its guidelines.

Then, in July 2011, Apple pulled iTunes out of the Christian Values Network, a portal that contributes funds to charities. The report said that this action was caused by complaints that some of the charities had policies critical of homosexual rights initiatives.

In general, the report concluded that several of Apple's policies for its apps are broad and vague, as well as being in some cases censorious on the subject of religion. When it comes to satire, humor or political commentary the norms are quite different, giving wide latitude to content.

For example, its guidelines on religion define content should be prohibited if it is "offensive, mean-spirited" or if it contains material that has "abuse," or is "inappropriate" or "unacceptable." Using such fuzzy terms means that Apple has very wide discretion to determine which religious ideas they prefer and which they will censor, the report pointed out.

There is no doubt, the report concluded, that Apple's policies on religious content would be found "extraordinarily wanting" if they were matched up against the standards for free speech that the Supreme Court has established under the First Amendment.


Turning to Google the report noted that it refused to place a Christian pro-life advertisement from the Christian Institute on its search engine. The ad was refused on the grounds that Google's "policy did not permit the advertisement of Web sites that contain abortion and religion-related content."

The Christian Institute then took Google to court and as a result the ad was allowed and Google changed its policy to allow ads on abortion from religious groups so long as they are framed in a factual way.

Google's policy is still, however, to block any ad on abortion that contains the phrase "abortion is murder," as this is deemed to be "gruesome."

Another problem outlined by the report related to Google's guidelines for its Web tools available for non-profit groups. The free or discounted use of these tools is not allowed for churches, faith groups, or organizations that take religion or sexual orientation into account in hiring employees. According to the report Christian churches who have applied to Google for non-profit status are being rejected.

A further case involving Google was related to a Norwegian site that contained criticism of Scientology. Lawyers representing Scientology protested to Google that the site contained copyrighted content. As a result the pages of the critical site were removed from Google's index.

The NRB report said that this action was troubling as there are a number of Christian groups that expose religious movements for their lack of fidelity to the Bible. In order to do so they need to quote from the original sources. Copyright law allows the fair use of material for reporting and criticism, so Google's approach could unjustly block legitimate Christian groups from engaging in criticism of what they consider to be false teachings.

Google also showed itself willing, during the time it operated in China through a local version of its Web site, to cooperate with the government in blacklisting words from its search engine relating to the Falun Gong religious group and the Dalai Lama.

The report concluded its section on Google by quoting testimony from Scott Cleland, former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Information and Communication Policy, who has stated that "Google rejects traditional Judeo-Christian values."

Facebook is also guilty of censorship according to the report. It has a policy of erasing anti-homosexual comments from its site and has partnerships with some organizations that promote the homosexual agenda.

Another example in the report was the case of how Facebook removed a posting of a photo of two men kissing. This decision was quickly reversed and Facebook made an apology. By contrast in other cases of photos involving sexual depictions unrelated to homosexuality the material has been permanently removed.

Hate speech

With the exception of Twitter the policies of the main Web-based platforms have very loose definitions of what they regard as hate speech, which the report criticizes as being a danger to free speech. Facebook, for example, prohibits "Inflammatory religious content; Politically religious agendas."

Quoting from the Google guidelines, the report said that it defines hate speech in the following way. "By this, we mean content that promotes hate … towards groups based on …religion … or sexual orientation/gender identity.

Google's rules also block advertising content that is critical of groups for their religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. The report pointed out that this eliminates ads by Christian pro-family groups that oppose what some homosexual advocacy groups are doing to promote the legalization of same-sex marriage. It also means that criticism of other religions or sects as being theologically wrong would violate Google's policy.

The report went on to identify similar problems with other new media organizations, such as MySpace, which also has very broad and ill-defined policies when it comes to hate speech and homosexuality.

The Internet service providers Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon also violate free speech and their rules would allow censorship of Christian content, according to the report.

The report finished with a plea to these companies to change their policies so as to guarantee free speech and also to renounce censorship of lawful Christian viewpoints. A plea that we can only hope will not fall on deaf ears.

ZENIT - Anti-Christian Censorship and New Media

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

They are not called Acts of God for Nothing!

We have just come from remembering the tragedy of the storm Ondoy when another powerful storm Pedring hit us. The winds were so strong that we witnessed waves as high as coconut trees hitting the sea walls of Manila Bay and thus causing the flooding of Roxas Boulevard. Until now, people in Bulacan and elsewhere in the north are suffering on account of floods and yet, they have to endure another storm Quiel. Let us pray for them and also come to their aid.

Such destruction caused by an act of God may truly be a reflection of what the Prophet Isaiah said: “Now I will let you know what I mean to do with my vineyard: take away its hedge, give it to grazing, break down its wall, let it be trampled! Yes, I will make it a ruin, it shall not be pruned or hoed, but overgrown with thorns and briers; I will command the clouds not to send rain upon it.” In the parable today, the Lord said, “He will put these wretched men to a wretched death…” Why such anger? Why such destruction? It is because in spite of what the Lord has done for his vineyard, he did not receive any fruit from it: He planted the vineyard, spaded it, cleared it of stones and planted the choicest vines. “What more is there to do for my vineyard that I had not done?”

We have been talking about vineyards for the past 3 Sundays. And everytime, we hear the command to go and work in it. Hired workers, sons, tenants – we all work in the Lord’s vineyard. And as in the first reading and the Gospel parable, the Lord seeks the fruits of his vineyard, he shall also ask from us the same. What fruits will we show him? Will we be able to show him “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious”? Will we offer him fruit that is excellent and worthy of praise? Or will we yield him wild grapes? Or will we yield him nothing at all?

Perhaps, the breaking of the sea walls should be a warning to us. After all, did not the Lord say: “I will break itsw walls”? In all the destruction of nature happening around us, we should see more than just climate change or global warming. We should see them as messages coming from God. After all, these are not called “acts of God’ for nothing! These acts of God should make us reflect about the fruits that we bear…Are they commensurate to all the graces we have received from God? “Think about these things” The Lord has chosen us and therefore he expects something from us. He has chosen us to bear fruit that will last. Let us return to the Lord and seek his mercy. Let us not reject the Son of God. The Lord refers to Himself as the Stone rejected by the builders which became the cornerstone. take away the capstone and the structure collapses. St. Paul speaks of Christ as the One who holds all things together in Himself. Delete Him from the picture and everything else collapses because no one will hold all these together. Therefore, let us not reject the Son of God. Let us not reject his servants. Let us return to what we have learned and received and heard and seen in Christ so that the God of peace will again be with us.