Easter Sunday – 19

Easter Sunday – 19

Acts10:34a, 37-43, Col.3:1-4 or 1Cor 5:6b-8, Jn.20:1-9

I wish everyone of you a Very Happy Easter. May the risen lord bless you today, as well as all those in your family whether they are near to you or far away.

May the Risen Lord Jesus bless your home, your loved ones and your neighbors now and forever.

A class of fourth-graders decided that they wanted to put on an Easter pageant for their parents. They wanted to enact what happened to Jesus on Easter morning.

So their teacher helped them by coming up with a list of all the characters that they would have to play. She then spoke to each student asking which role he or she would prefer.

Of course, many of them wanted to play soldiers or angels or one of the women who came bearing spices.

But when she came to a young boy named Kevin and asked him,” Kevin who would you like to be?”

Kevin responded quickly, “I would like to be the stone.” “The stone?” said the teacher, taken back by his response, “We have no lines for the stone, there’s nothing you would be able to say.”

“That’s okay,” said Kevin, “I’ll be happy just to roll away at the appropriate time.”

So since she had more children than roles, she allowed Kevin to be the stone. The play was a great success. Afterwards, the teacher went to all the children to affirm them and to thank them.

When she came to Kevin, she first of all thanked him for the excellent job he did rolling away. But then she asked him, “Kevin, tell me why was it so important to you to be the stone.

It wasn’t after all the biggest role.” “I know,” said Kevin, “but I really wanted to be the one who let Jesus out of the tomb.”

Kevin’s words are important to us this Easter morning. We have heard the proclamation that Jesus is risen. In faith, we believe that he now sits at the right hand of God in power.

But the power of Jesus will not benefit us unless we are willing to let him out of the tomb.

We let him out of the tomb when we move our faith from our head to our heart. There are many things that we believe and do that are based in our head.

If people were to ask us we would answer, “Yes, I believe in God. I am a Catholic. I come to church with my family.” All good things.

But the power of the resurrection is when we move our faith to our heart, when we let the power of the risen Christ pervade our very center, our very being.

What does it mean to let Christ into our heart? It means that we live each day trying to be aware that the power of Christ is with us. Aware that Christ is with us to protect us, to guide us, to help us.

Living that way is very different than simply living on our own. It is different than making our own decisions and plans, thinking of our own future.

It is different from only thinking of God when someone else brings God up or when we come to church on Sunday or on Easter.

If we were to invite Christ truly into our hearts, into the center of who we are, we would live differently. Christ would give us more clarity, more commitment, and more confidence.

We need clarity because every day we are bombarded by issues and demands that come on us from all sides and we keep going doing one thing after the next.

If we are not careful, we can end up living our lives surrounded by matters of little consequence. But if we invite Christ into our hearts, he will help us clarify what is important and what is not.

If Christ is with us, he will show us which things are distractions and which things are essential. Then we will never ignore the people who love us and we will never forget which decisions are the ones that can really make a difference.

So we need clarity. We also need commitment. Now, we are committed people. We try to live good lives, to love our neighbor, to serve those in need.

All of this is good. But if we place the power of Christ at our center we will find a new way to be committed.

We will realize we do the good things in our lives not simply because they are right but because they are God’s work. That insight should give us the ability to keep going even when it is difficult and disappointing.

It should give us new energy because the good things we do are not simply our good things but they are part of God’s plan for recreating the world.

Inviting Christ into our life will give us a new kind of commitment. It will also increase our confidence. We worry about a lot of things. We worry about the bad decisions our children might be making.

We worry about our aging parents as they cope with sickness and grief. We have problems at work or at school. We have disagreements we cannot resolve.

But if we let the power of Christ come into us, it will give us greater confidence because we will realize that Christ wants to resolve these issues as much as we do.

We will realize that God is active, bringing our problems to a good conclusion. When we invite Christ into us, we have the confidence that once we have done everything we can, we can leave the rest in God’s hands.

The risen Christ can give us power. The risen Christ can give us clarification, commitment, and confidence. But first, we must invite him in. Christ is risen. But he does us no good if we keep him in the tomb.

So, should today not be the day that we decide to roll the stone away?

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Good Friday – 19

GOOD FRIDAY

• Two *Processions* of a same Person but with two different *Responses.*

• _One was a triumphant *ENTRY* into the Jesrusalem city; the other a painful *EXIT* out side the Jerusalem city._

• _In the first, the *DONKEY* carried Jesus; in the second Jesus carried the *CROSS.*_

• _In the first *HOSSANA* was the exclamation; in the second *CRUCIFY* was the cry._

• _In the first people held *BRANCHES* of the tree; in the second Jesus held *WOOD* of the tree._

• _In the first the people’s garments were *SPREAD* on the road; in the second Jesus’ garments were *DIVIDED* among the four._

• _In the first the Disciples *ACCOMPANIED* Jesus; in the second the Disciples *FLED* from Jesus._

The first, was a scene of *GLORY*; the second, was the scene of *MISERY*.

Life has *Sunshines* as well as *Dark nights.* *Rainbows* as well as *Thunder storms.*

Happiness is *TEMPORARY* Sadness is *TRANSITORY*

A Kite cannot all the time *FLY* above in the air, it has to *LIE* down to the ground.

Both *PALM Sunday* and *GOOD Friday* was needed to arrive at *EASTER Sunday.*

To sum up all the above things:

– Entry= *Birth*. Exit= *Death*;

– Donkey= *Comfort*. Cross= *Struggle*;

– Hosanna= *Aprreciation*. Crucify= *Criticism*;

– Branches= *Health* Wood= *Sickness*;

– Spread= *Richness* Divide= *Poverty*

– Accompany= *Friends* Flee= *Enemies*;

– Glory= *Joy* Misery= *Sorrow*;

– Sunshine= *Smiles* Darkness= *Tears*.

Thus we can conclude: Life is a mixture of both *Sweet and Bitter* moments.

Lets remember:

Happiness is *TEMPORARY*

Sadness is *TRANSITORY.*

On earth we have to go through both, *PALM Sundays* and *GOOD Fridays* to arrive in heaven to experience *RESURRECTION day.*

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing. Amen.

Palm Sunday – 19

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

Is.50:4-7, Phili.2:6-11, Lk.22:14 – 23:56

The Church celebrates today as both Palm Sunday and Passion Sunday. It is on Palm Sunday that we enter Holy Week and welcome Jesus into our lives, asking him to allow us a share in his suffering, death and Resurrection.

This is also the time we remember and relive the events which brought about our redemption and salvation. That is why the Holy Week liturgy presents us with the actual events of the dying and rising of Jesus.

In the old liturgy, before Vatican II, the reading of the Passion was greeted with total silence. There was no homily. Even the concluding acclamation: “This is the gospel of the Lord” was omitted.

On a day like this, I sometimes feel that the most eloquent response to the word of God we have proclaimed is silence.

Even the best of homilies could be a distraction from the deep meditation in which many of us find ourselves at the end of the story of the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ.

But then also, a homily might be useful to direct and focus our meditation in the right direction.

Otherwise we might be like little Johnny who was failing all his exams in the public school until his parents decided to send him to a Catholic school. At the end of the year Johnny came out on top of the class.

When his parents asked him what made him change so dramatically Johnny replied, “You see, the moment I walked into that new school and saw that guy hanging on the cross, I knew that the people here were dead serious; so I decided not to take any chances.”

The crucifix might have helped Johnny to improve his scores but it is easy to see that Johnny has misread the crucifix. The man on the cross is not there to scare little boys but to show them how much he loves them.

He is not there to show them what would happen to them if they misbehaved; he is there to show them that he has already paid the penalty for their sins.

He is not dying on the cross for what he has done but for what you and I have done; because he loves us. He died for us.

“He died for us:” Many of us have heard this phrase so many times that it now carries with it neither the shock of someone dying on account of what we have done nor the good news of our being delivered from death.

For us to hear this message again today as for the first time, the story of a man who literally died for the misdeeds of his brother might help.

Two brothers lived together in the same apartment. The elder brother was an honest, hard-working and God-fearing man and the younger a dishonest, gun-toting, substance-abusing rogue.

Many a night the younger man would come back into the apartment late, drunk and with a lot of cash and the elder brother would spend hours pleading with him to mend his ways and live a decent life. But the young man would have none of it.

One night the junior brother runs into the house with a smoking gun and blood-stained clothes. “I killed a man,” he announced.

In a few minutes the house was surrounded by police and the two brothers knew there was no escape. “I did not mean to kill him,” stammered the young brother, “I don’t want to die.”

By now the police were knocking at the door. The senior brother had an idea. He exchanged his clothes with the blood-stained clothes of his killer brother.

The police arrested him, tried him and condemned him to death for murder. He was killed and his junior brother lived. He died for his brother.

Can we see that this story of crime and death is basically a story of love? Similarly, the story of the suffering and death of Jesus which we heard in the Passion is basically a story of love – God’s love for us. How should we respond to it?

Well, how would you expect the junior brother to respond to the death of the senior brother? We would expect him to respond with GRATITUDE.

Gratitude to his generous brother should make him turn a new life and never go back to a life of crime.

He would be a most ungrateful person if he should continue living the sort of life that made his brother die. Gratitude should make him keep the memory of his brother alive.

No day should pass that he should not remember his brother who died for him. Finally, if the dead brother has got a wife and children we should expect the saved brother, out of gratitude, to love and care for them.

What God expects from us today is gratitude – gratitude strong enough to make us hate sin of every shade and color; strong enough to make us translate our love of God into love of all of God’s people.

There is a Jewish saying, “Heaven rejoices over a repentant sinner and sheds tears over a non-repentant, hardhearted one.”

Let us get ready to imitate the prodigal son, return to God, our loving Father through the Sacrament of Reconciliation during this last week of Lent, and participate fully in the joy of Christ’s Resurrection.

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing. Amen.

5th Sunday of Lent Year C -19

5th Sunday of Lent, Year C – 19

Isaiah 48:16-21 / Philippians 3:8-14 / John 8:1-11

There was a wise Persian king who had four sons. The king saw that his chief responsibility was to make sure that his sons grew up with wisdom knowing how to live.

So one winter day he said to eldest son, ‘Look I own a farm in the next village and in that farm there is a huge mango tree. It costs me a great deal to maintain it.

I want you to go and examine this tree and make a judgment whether is worth the investment. I plan to ask your brothers to do the same.” So the eldest son went and looked at the tree.

When spring came the king sent his second son. He sent his third son in summer and his youngest son in the fall. Then he called the boys together to make their judgment.

The eldest son spoke first, “Father,” he said, “this tree is nothing more than a barren stump, I would cut it down.”

The second son had a different opinion, “Father,” he said, “the tree is covered with many luxurious leaves and produces much shade, but you would have to weigh whether the shade that is produced is worth the cost of maintenance.”

The third son fundamentally agreed with his brother, “I saw beautiful flowers on the tree as well but father you will have to decide whether you plan to visit this tree and enjoy the flowers.

If you choose not to do this, it is probably not worth the cost of maintenance.” But the youngest son disagreed strongly with his brothers.

“Father,” he said, “I have never seen such huge and luxurious fruit on any tree. It would bring a fortune in the marketplace. I say this tree must be maintained no matter what the cost.”

The father was satisfied and smiled, “Each of you is correct, for each of you saw the tree at a different time. The lesson is clear – if you wish to be wise, you should withhold your judgment until you have seen the tree in all of its seasons.”

This story relates to the Gospel because today’s passage is about judgments and how we make them.

The people around Jesus were quick and ready to judge the woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They saw her as a sinner and they said she should be punished.

Their judgment was correct and Jesus did not debate it. But without excusing her sin Jesus chose to see the woman in a larger context.

He could imagine her in a different season, in a season that was different from the barren and sinful season in which she now stood. He could imagine her in a season that was productive and full of life.

Jesus challenged his listeners and challenges us to give the woman another chance, to suspend judgment in light of another season which could produce much fruit.

This larger vision of Jesus supports his frequent teaching that we should not judge others. He tells us that we should not judge not because our judgments are incorrect but because they are often incomplete.

There are many seasons to every person’s life. In light of the better seasons the wise person refrains from judging and making a final judgment today.

Now there’s a caveat that comes with Jesus’ teaching. When he tells us that we are not to judge others he does not mean that we are to let others take advantage of us.

We must make judgments to protect ourselves from those who would manipulate us or abuse us.

We must make judgments to protect ourselves and those that we love from those who would harm us because of their selfishness or dysfunction.

To make such judgments is not only good but necessary. But when Jesus calls us not to judge others, he asks us not to make a final judgment.

We should not be too quick to write off those whom we dislike or those with whose ideas and actions we disagree.

Even though we know others are wrong dead wrong, even when we are convinced that there is no way we can condemn their actions, Jesus nevertheless says that we should postpone final judgment in light of the better seasons that might be produced in their lives, in light of the better people that they might someday become.

This teaching is not easy. All of us can think of people whom we are ready to judge, people that we would be quick to reject.

How do we find the strength to withhold final judgment? Jesus shows us the way. In today’s Gospel when others were ready and willing to pass final judgment on the woman who was caught in adultery he asks them to think of their weakness, to think of their sins.

Jesus says anyone here who is without sin should be the first to cast a stone at her. In the same way when we are filled with anger and righteousness and ready to judge another, Jesus asks us to think of our worst season.

Then we should remember the time when we messed up the most, when we acted with deep selfishness, when we hurt someone unjustly.

Jesus knows that if we remember our worst season, it may give us the freedom not to judge someone in their worst season. When we remember our weakness and sin, we might find the freedom to accept another in light of the better person they have the potential to become.

Jesus tells us that it is not our role to judge another. This is not because our judgment would be incorrect, but because it would be incomplete.

Once we have taken steps to protect ourselves and those we love from harm, it is not our role to condemn anyone.

Instead we are asked to entrust others to God’s care, hoping that what is wrong in their life might change and what is barren in their life might in time produce fruit.

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing. Amen.

4th Sunday of Lent Year C – 19

4th Sunday of Lent Year C – 19

Jos 5:9, 10-12; II Cor 5:17-21; Lk 15:1-3, 11-32

The Sunday School teacher was explaining the story of the Prodigal Son to his class, clearly emphasizing the resentment the older brother expressed at the return of his brother.

When he finished telling the story, he asked the class, “Now who was really sad that the prodigal son had come home?”

After a few minutes of silence, one little boy raised his hand and confidently stated, “The fatted calf.”

Today’s parable of the prodigal son is so famous and so rich that we might not notice that it is incomplete. It ends too soon.

It ends with the father pleading with the older son to come in to the celebration which he has arranged for the prodigal son. But we are never told how the elder son responds to his father’s pleading.

His father says, “We must celebrate and rejoice.” Yet the parable ends before we find out whether the older son in fact does celebrate and rejoice.

So the incompleteness of this parable draws attention to the decision which the older son must face.

That choice, whether to celebrate or not celebrate with his brother, becomes a key to unlock the meaning of the parable.

The decision of the elder son which is left hanging in the air suggests that this parable is not so much about sinning, repenting, and forgiving as it is about jealousy.

It is not so much about forgiving the son who came home but the willingness to accept the brother who has come home.

It asks us: Are we willing to rejoice in the good fortune of others?

When someone makes a great basketball shot on our team or someone delivers an excellent speech in debating class, are we willing to rejoice with that person?

Or do we say, “I could have made that shot if they passed the ball to me. I could have given just as good a speech if I had been given that topic.”

When someone at work gets a promotion or pulls off an important project, are we able to rejoice with that person?

Or do we say, “I could have done that too if I played the game, if I catered to the whim of my superiors.”

When we see a great mother, a clever businessman, a creative thinker, are we willing to rejoice and celebrate those gifts or do we feel compelled to tell ourselves and others of that person’s flaws, mistakes, and limitations?

This is exactly what the older brother does as he tries to tell his father all the reasons that his younger brother should not be welcomed home.

Today’s parable is a parable in which the elder son is jealous of the love that the father gives to his brother. Clearly the parable is inviting us to avoid such jealousy in our own lives.

But if we are going to do that, we have to understand what is the cause of jealousy. The parable gives us the answer. The older son is unable to accept the love that his father has for him.

The father certainly loves the elder son. He says this clearly. He says, “My son, you are here with me always and all I have is yours.”

And yet, for some reason, this elder son will not believe in the father’s love. Because he will not accept the gifts that flow from that love, he ends up being jealous of his brother.

The surest way to avoid jealousy in our own lives is to accept the love God has for us and the gifts that God has given us.

Even though our gifts might seem less than the gifts of others, we need to believe that the gifts that we have been given are valuable and important.

Sometimes we think: If God is loving the other person so much there will not be enough love left over for me. But the parable clearly says this is wrong.

The father is excessive in loving, prodigal in loving. The parable assures us that with our God there will always be enough love for all of the children.

This story invites us to claim the love that God has for us and the gifts that God has given us.

It invites us to be thankful for our gifts and to believe, whatever those gifts are, they are a sure sign of God’s unfailing love for us.

If we can be thankful for the gifts we have received, we can avoid jealousy in our lives.

When we claim God’s love, our response to someone’s success or exaltation will be joy rather than envy.

We will be able to celebrate with them, because no matter how much someone else can be blessed, we will know that we are never left out. With our God, there is always enough love to go around.

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing. Amen.

3rd Sunday of Lent Year C – 19

3rd Sunday of Lent, Year C

Ex.3:1-8, 13-15 / 1 Cor 10:1-6, 10-12 / Lk.13:1-9

Let’s begin with a question, and the question is this: Which Christian denomination (or which Church) appears most in movies and is the topic for stories in the newspapers?

If the answer isn’t obvious, then maybe these movies may jog our memory – The Exorcist; Da Vinci Code; Angels and Demons; Sister Act; The Sound of Music

Yes, all these movies have their themes around the Catholic Church or that the Church is used as a background.

So for better or for worse, whenever a Church is featured in a movie, it is most likely the Catholic Church, maybe because it has history as well as mystery.

And if no news is good news, then it may not be the case with the Catholic Church.

Every now and then, there are stories and articles written about the Catholic Church in the papers, some of which are inspiring while some are disturbing.

And in that sense, the Catholic Church is a bit like what we heard in today’s gospel.

We heard that some people came and told Jesus something that is rather disturbing – some Galileans were killed and Pilate had their blood mingled with that of their sacrifices.

And Jesus in turn had something disturbing to tell them – those eighteen people who died when the tower of Siloam fell on them.

Those were rather disturbing and uncomfortable discussions that we would rather not want to think about them and we might even wonder why they were in the gospel in the first place.

But the parable that Jesus told after that would put all those disturbing and uncomfortable topics in their context.

The parable about the fig tree that was not bearing fruit left the conclusion rather open-ended. So did the fig tree eventually bore fruit, or did it get chopped down?

Although there was no apparent conclusion, there was a message – the man who looked after the vineyard appealed for more time to work on the fig tree.

That gives us a glimpse of the mercy of God, which does not just give us a second chance but a series of chances for repentance.

All three of today’s readings speak of God’s mercy and compassion in disciplining His children by occasional punishment, while giving them many “second chances” despite their repeated sins.

Although God’s love for us is constant and consistent, He will not save us without our co-operation.

That is why He invites us during Lent to repent of our sins and to renew our lives by producing fruits of love, compassion, forgiveness, and faithful service.

We know that tragic events can occur randomly, as in the cases of the Galileans and the eighteen Jerusalemites, and have nothing to do with the guilt or innocence of the victims.

For example, a tornado that destroys a nightclub also destroys a Church. An earthquake or tsunami kills the saints as well as the sinners in the affected area. Drunk drivers kill innocent people.

Violent people, with or without provocation, injure their loved ones. Only a few of us will have a burning-bush experience, but all of us have struggled to understand why tragedy seems to befall innocent people.

In all these cases, we need to trust in Divine mercy, believing that God is with us and God is on our side, even in those situations we cannot explain.

Jesus’ life is the clearest evidence that a person’s suffering is not proof of that person’s sin. While sin can lead to tragedy, not every tragedy is the result of sin.

On the one hand, Jesus informs us that those who do not repent will perish. On the other hand, Jesus tells us a parable about the patience of God.

The fig tree in His parable is a familiar Old Testament symbol for Israel.

As the fig tree is given one last season to produce fruit before it is cut down, so Jesus is giving Israel one final opportunity to bear good fruits as evidence of its repentance.

Through this parable, believers are reminded of the patience of a God, who is willing to give sinners chance after chance to reform their lives and to seek reconciliation.

Even when sinners waste or refuse those chances, God, in His mercy, allows still more opportunities for them to repent.

And that’s the good news in the midst of the disturbing and uncomfortable news that we heard in the gospel. God is revealing himself as being with us in our struggles, in our pain.

He is not the God who punishes, rather he does everything to help us to be free, most especially in using humans like Moses, like you and me to bring about his reign here on earth, a reign of justice, love and peace.

May we not take God’s patience for granted but repent and turn away from our sins, and by our repentance may we, the Catholic Church give the world the good news of God’s love and mercy.

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing. Amen.

1st Sunday of Lent Year C

1st Sunday of Lent Year C

Deu.26:4-10/ Rom.10:8-13/ Lk.4:1-13

A storekeeper, seeing a boy hanging about outside where there was a tempting display of various fruits, went out to him and said, “What are you trying to do, young man, steal my apples?’ “no sir,” said the boy, “I am trying not to.”

A young boy was forbidden by his father to swim in the canal near their home. One day the boy came home carrying a wet bathing suit and his father asked where he had been. The boy calmly stated that he had been swimming in the canal.

The father was angry and said, “Didn’t I tell you not to swim there?” The boy assured him he had. The father wanted to know why the son had disobeyed him. The boy said, Well, Dad, I had my bathing suit with me, and I couldn’t resist the temptation.”

Furious, the father asked why the boy had his bathing suit with him. The boy answered with total honest, “So I would be prepared to swim, just in case I was tempted.”

Today’s gospel invites us to stay prepared to fight the temptation in our lives. Oscar Wilde was a much-celebrated Anglo-Irish literary figure, very witty… and very worldly.

He once wrote: “I can resist everything but temptation.” There are many today, who live as Oscar Wilde lived.

They regard temptations as irrelevant, things representing what they regard as hypocritical middle class moral norms, norms that constrict us and deny us our freedom.

We are to live, many claim, with only one self-indulgent moral norm: “If it feels good, do it. Anything is all right so long as it doesn’t hurt anybody.”

Some think that God tempts us just to see which way we will choose. It’s God’s way of testing us, they think. As for myself, I can’t imagine an infinitely good and loving God doing that to us.

I believe rather what St. James tells us in his epistle:

“No one experiencing temptation should say, “I am being tempted by God”; for God is not subject to temptation to evil, and he himself tempts no one. Rather, each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” (James 1:13-14)

We are in the season of Lent. It seems to me that we should be thinking more about how to deal with temptations rather than where they come from.

It helps us to recognize the nature of temptations because, as I said, they always present themselves to us as something good.

We should not choose what only appears to be good or simply feels good. We should choose only that which is actually good. Choosing something that is bad is not the way to achieve what is good.

In the gospel, we heard that Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, was being led by the same Spirit to the wilderness, to the desert. There, for 40 days, He fasted and prayed, and at the same time He was being tempted by the devil.

After 40 days, He was hungry, and that was when the enemy attacked Him with temptations. In His hunger, the enemy tempted Jesus to use His power as the Son of God to turn the stones into bread. Then He was tempted with the power and glory of the kingdoms of earth.

And then finally, He was tempted to put God to the test to see if God will protect Him from harm. As we look at the temptations that Jesus faced, we may come to one glaring realization.

These temptations are actually about the basic needs of our lives; not just basic needs but also the longings of our hearts.

Because in the depths of our hearts, we hunger for food to keep us alive, we long for safety and shelter, and when we have taken care of our hunger and shelter, we would begin to desire for luxury and pleasure.

So as we can see, what Jesus was tempted with, is actually what we ourselves are also tempted with.

It is often said that there is a hole in our hearts that longs to be filled, but it cannot be filled with food, no matter how much we eat. It cannot be filled with clothes no matter how much we wear.

It cannot be filled with riches, no matter how much we have. Only God who created our hearts can fill that longing in the depths of our hearts.

Yet we are tempted to long for something else. And in our foolishness, we long for something that is earthly, something that is passing, something that will eventually turn to dust.

A story goes that a psychologist spoke to an audience about stress management. Then she raised a glass of water, and everyone expected her to ask that “half empty or half full” question.

Instead she asked: “How heavy is this glass of water?” The answers that came from the audience ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, “The absolute weight of this glass of water doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem.

If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed.

In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” Well, the stress and worries or temptations of life are like that glass of water.

Think about them for a while and nothing much happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt.

And if we think about them all day long, then we will feel paralyzed and incapable of doing anything.

What happens to us when we keep thinking of our stress and worries is similar to what happens to us when we keep longing and going after the things of this world.

We will also become paralyzed and incapable of doing anything. We will be tempted to think that when we have satisfied our hunger, we won’t be hungry anymore.

Or that if we get this amount of money, then we won’t be in need anymore.

Or if we achieve this status or this position or have this authority, then we will be secure and in control. But in today’s gospel, Jesus tells the devil that it won’t be; and Jesus is also telling us that it won’t be.

For Jesus, it is in God the Father that He trusts, for the things of this earth will pass and turn to dust. As for us everything will also pass, and we will also turn to dust.

Yet in Jesus we must trust. As we heard in the 2nd reading: Everyone who calls on the name of Jesus will be saved.

So in our temptations let us call on the name of Jesus. In our needs let us turn to Jesus. And in the end, let us remember that we are dust, and we shall return to dust.

And when everything comes to pass, may we still have the faith to say that “In Jesus we trust.”

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing. Amen.