Friday, December 7, 2012

Gospel Reflection

December 07, 2012
Friday – Advent – Year of Faith
First Friday of the Month
Memorial of Saint Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
by Rev. Fr. Joseph “Joey” Faller (Spiritual Director of the Kamay ni Hesus Healing Center, Lucban Quezon Province)
Lunch Mass at Megamall, Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord

Reading 1 Is 29:17-24

Thus says the Lord GOD: But a very little while, and Lebanon shall be changed into an orchard, and the orchard be regarded as a forest! On that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book; And out of gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind shall see. The lowly will ever find joy in the LORD, and the poor rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. For the tyrant will be no more and the arrogant will have gone; All who are alert to do evil will be cut off, those whose mere word condemns a man, Who ensnare his defender at the gate, and leave the just man with an empty claim. Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of the house of Jacob, who redeemed Abraham: Now Jacob shall have nothing to be ashamed of, nor shall his face grow pale. When his children see the work of my hands in his midst, They shall keep my name holy; they shall reverence the Holy One of Jacob, and be in awe of the God of Israel. Those who err in spirit shall acquire understanding, and those who find fault shall receive instruction.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 27:1, 4, 13-14

R. (1a) The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life's refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

Gospel Mt 9:27-31

As Jesus passed by, two blind men followed him, crying out, "Son of David, have pity on us!" When he entered the house, the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them, "Do you believe that I can do this?" "Yes, Lord," they said to him. Then he touched their eyes and said, "Let it be done for you according to your faith." And their eyes were opened. Jesus warned them sternly, "See that no one knows about this." But they went out and spread word of him through all that land.


As I have told you, at the outset of our celebration, we are at the first Sunday of Advent and the Advent wreath represents the four Sundays that we have. There is the first and second Sunday, then the pink one will be the Gaudete Sunday or the Sunday of joy, anticipating the coming of the Lord, while the fourth Sunday will be the last Sunday before Christmas.

When we talk about Advent, we talk about two things. The first meaning of Advent is the First Coming of the Lord, that we are remembering on Christmas day. The second meaning of Advent is the Second Coming, which talks about the end of the world. And when we talk about the end of the world, nakakatakot po. Parang katulad ninyo na nakikinig ngayon sa akin, parang nakakatakot pakinggan ang sinasabi ni Father.

In the Greek word, the Second Coming is called the 'parousia' - ulitin ninyo, 'parousia'. Kita nyo parang may parusa na, ano ho? (laughs) The parousia, or the Second Coming of the Lord, will be with judgment.

Last year noong December 16, what we had was typhoon 'Sendong'. And this year, super typhoon 'Pablo' really devastated the Mindanao area. Could you just imagine, even with the preparations made in advance by the Government, still, a lot of people died. And still, there was much destruction in Mindanao, especially in the Compostela Valley in Davao, where 4 billion pesos worth of agriculture has been lost. About 437 have died, and about 200 to 300 are still missing. 90% of houses were destroyed, 85% of agricultural land were destroyed. And this is before Christmas time, as we celebrate the first Sunday of Advent, when we are preparing for the coming of the Lord.

Isa pa ho, kung napapansin po ninyo ha, ito po ha, napansin ko lang po, when they are talking and are pushing the RH Bill, bumabagyo, nagkakaroon ng delubyo. And they are pushing again the RH Bill, and this is the result. Nature - the hand of the Lord - is seemingly telling all of us, read the signs of the times. Have a discerning heart, and a discerning spirit, so that you may know what the Lord wants for all of us.

And then it became very clear to me. The Lord wants us to restore the love for the family, to continue to give importance to the sanctity of marriage, and not on the sex thing, that even a Grade 3 student can already have access to sex education. A lot of people do not understand what they are pushing, especially the lawmakers. This is anti-life, this is anti-family. The family will be under attack and will loose its significance. People don't realize this. But later on, if they push through with the RH Bill, the nation will be divided. The family will be divided, and life will no longer become so meaningful for us. And this will be a great deluge in the morality of the Philippines.

Can we not see the signs of the times? It is happening. The Lord is giving us a signal. Don't push through with this. Reflect. I believe in all my heart that the signs of the times are there. Read it. Discern it for yourselves.

As I have mentioned, there are two meanings of Advent, the First Coming and the Second Coming. But I would like to push through with the third coming. And what is the third coming? It is the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ into our hearts. The coming of Jesus into our family, into our society, into our life.

The coming of the Lord is depicted in the Holy Gospel. The coming of the Lord will be with healings, miracles, signs and wonders. As you can see in our Holy Gospel for today, two blind men were healed, and it was through their insistence that they were healed. Their bold faith, their bold proclamation resulted to their healing. Jesus said, "Do you believe that I can do this?" And they said yes, they believe that they will be healed.

One ingredient for healing is that we believe in the power of God. That we believe that God can heal even the most sick ones, even those who are already suffering and at the point of death. If it is the will of the Lord, it can happen. Mayroon po akong na-pray over, sabi ko po sa sarili ko, 'naku hindi na tatagal ito'. Pagkaraan po ng isang linggo, bumangon, hanggang ngayon buhay pa. Meron naman ho akong na-pray over, sabi ko ito ay gagaling pa. Kinabukasan, patay. (laughs)

What is the message? The message is, it is the Lord's will that is most important. Ang nagpapagaling ay ang Panginoon. Ang mahalaga ay ang kalooban ng Diyos, hindi 'yong kalooban noong nag-minister, who is just an instrument. It is the will of the Lord that matters.

That is why the coming of the Lord will always be with signs and wonders. The Lord touched the eyes of the two blind men. There is healing in touch. That is why ako po, I allow people to touch me, to become a medium of healing. Because I believe with all my heart that what happened 2,000 years ago is still happening even today.

So the Lord is continually touching us, in the Holy Eucharist that we celebrate, in the Sacred Scriptures that we read, in the homilies that the priest delivers. Healing is happening. That is why sometimes, we have teary eyes. Minsan, napapaiyak tayo. When that happens, it is the Word of God that is convicting you to change, and I believe that in that sense, Jesus is touching you through the Holy Eucharist, through the Word of God and even in the events that are transpiring in your life.

So today, as we celebrate this mass, we ask the Lord once again, not only to touch our external sickness, but for the Lord to touch our hearts, to touch our whole being, the innermost part of ourselves, so that we can experience total, immediate, comprehensive healing. The healing of our hearts, the healing of our lives. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. 

Saint Ambrose – Pray for us

You may also want to see: A Holy Life - Saint Ambrose

A Holy Life

Saint Ambrose
Bishop, Doctor of the Church
Feast day – December 07

One of Ambrose’s biographers observed that at the Last Judgment people would still be divided between those who admired Ambrose and those who heartily disliked him. He emerges as the man of action who cut a furrow through the lives of his contemporaries. Even royal personages were numbered among those who were to suffer crushing divine punishments for standing in Ambrose’s way. When the Empress Justina attempted to wrest two basilicas from Ambrose’s Catholics and give them to the Arians, he dared the eunuchs of the court to execute him. His own people rallied behind him in the face of imperial troops. In the midst of riots he both spurred and calmed his people with bewitching new hymns set to exciting Eastern melodies. In his disputes with the Emperor Auxentius, he coined the principle: “The emperor is in the Church, not above the Church.” He publicly admonished Emperor Theodosius for the massacre of 7,000 innocent people. The emperor did public penance for his crime. This was Ambrose, the fighter, sent to Milan as Roman governor and chosen while yet a catechumen to be the people’s bishop.

There is yet another side of Ambrose — one which influenced Augustine, whom Ambrose converted. Ambrose was a passionate little man with a high forehead, a long melancholy face and great eyes. We can picture him as a frail figure clasping the codex of sacred Scripture. This was the Ambrose of aristocratic heritage and learning. Augustine found the oratory of Ambrose less soothing and entertaining but far more learned than that of other contemporaries. Ambrose’s sermons were often modelled on Cicero and his ideas betrayed the influence of contemporary thinkers and philosophers. He had no scruples in borrowing at length from pagan authors. He gloried in the pulpit in his ability to parade his spoils — “gold of the Egyptians” — taken over from the pagan philosophers. His sermons, his writings and his personal life reveal him as an otherworldly man involved in the great issues of his day. Humanity, for Ambrose, was, above all, spirit. In order to think rightly of God and the human soul, the closest thing to God, no material reality at all was to be dwelt upon. He was an enthusiastic champion of consecrated virginity. The influence of Ambrose on Augustine will always be open for discussion. The Confessions reveal some manly, brusque encounters between Ambrose and Augustine, but there can be no doubt of Augustine’s profound esteem for the learned bishop. Neither is there any doubt that Monica loved Ambrose as an angel of God who uprooted her son from his former ways and led him to his convictions about Christ. It was Ambrose, after all, who placed his hands on the shoulders of the naked Augustine as he descended into the baptismal fountain to put on Christ.

Ambrose exemplifies for us the truly catholic character of Christianity. He is a man steeped in the learning, law and culture of the ancients and of his contemporaries. Yet, in the midst of active involvement in this world, this thought runs through Ambrose’s life and preaching: The hidden meaning of the Scriptures calls our spirit to rise to another world.

“Women and men are not mistaken when they regard themselves as superior to mere bodily creatures and as more than mere particles of nature or nameless units in modern society. For by their power to know themselves in the depths of their being they rise above the entire universe of mere objects.... Endowed with wisdom, women and men are led through visible realities to those which are invisible” (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, 14–15).


Sources for this article were taken from:



Prayer That We May Seek God and Find Him

Lord, teach me to seek you, and reveal yourself to me when I seek you. For I cannot seek you unless you first teach me, nor find you unless you first reveal yourself to me. Let me seek you in longing and long for you in seeking. Let me find you in love, and love you in finding.

~ St Ambrose of Milan, Bishop, Writer, Doctor

Prayer of St. Ambrose to Imitate the Blessed Virgin Mary

May the life of Blessed Mary be ever-present to our awareness. In her, as in a mirror the form of virtue, and beauty of chastity shine forth. She was a virgin, not only in body, but in mind and spirit. She never sullied the pure affection of her heart by unworthy feelings. She was humble of heart. She was serious in her conversations. She was prudent in her counsels. She preferred to pray rather than to speak. She united in her heart the prayers of the poor. And avoided the uncertainty of worldly riches. She was ever-faithful to her daily duties, Reserved in her conversations, and always accustomed to recognize God as the Witness of her thoughts. Blessed be the name of Jesus! Amen.

Saint Ambrose – Pray for us