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Fourth Sunday of Easter: The shepherd

In the Old Testament, God is often portrayed as a shepherd who guides, protects, and nourishes his people (Psalms 80:2; 23); “he gathers the lambs in his arms, and gently leading those that are with young” (Isaiah 40:11). He takes care of Israel that has been brought to ruin by unworthy kings and promises: “I will gather the remnant of my sheep from every land to which I have driven them and I will bring them back to the grasslands. They will be fruitful and increase in number.

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First Sunday of Lent: The desert experience

Every year, on the first Sunday of Lent, the gospel is on the temptations of Jesus in the desert. In Mark’s brief narrative of the temptation it is the Spirit who, leads him into the wilderness.
If “to tempt” is tantamount to “incite to evil,” the Spirit does not do that. There are temptations that are not incitement to evil. These are the times when one is forced to make choices that are conducive occasions to make faith more solid and unwavering.

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Epiphany of the Lord: Shining star light for all peoples

From the earliest days of the Church, the magi were one of the favourite themes of the scene of the Nativity. 
But too many details are missing in the Gospel narration: Where did they come from? How many were there? What were their names? And many more…
To answer these questions, many legends were born. It was said that they were kings. They were three: one came from Africa, one from Asia and one from Europe. 

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Feast of the Holy Family: Old people build young world

Today, the evangelist introduces the observance of all the requirements of the law of the Lord by the holy family. He wishes to emphasise that, from the earliest years of his life, Jesus has faithfully fulfilled the Father’s will.
The message is addressed to all Christian parents. They are called to a most important mission: to consecrate their children to the Lord, from the earliest days of their lives. 

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A prophet like Elijah preparing his way

This is the beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” This is a carefully composed verse by Mark wanting to draw his readers’ attention to the beginning of the book of Genesis: “In the beginning when God began to create the heavens and the earth.” 
The world, which came out good from the hand of God, was then corrupted. 

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Waiting for his coming

To be alert and to keep watch are the key words of this passage. The evangelist invites all members of his communities to be vigilant in waiting for the coming of the Lord.
What does to be alert mean? Why such insistence on the night? Why does the master, instead of coming during the day, arrive suddenly when nobody expects him? Who is the doorkeeper? Who is the master? Where did he go? What powers has he left to his servants?

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Pinoys’ got talent

Magandang araw! Sa nakaraang dekada ay lumaganap ang mga programa na patungkol sa mga talents.  Nag karoong ng ibat-ibang version katulad ng America’s, British’s, Asia’s at Pilipinas’ Got Talent. 
Upag malaman kung patok ang talent, bibigyan ka nila ng Yes, o kaya ay X, subalit ang pinakahintay  ng lahat ay ang Golden Buzzer. Hindi man isang isang talent contest show, subalit tungkol sa talent ang ating pagninilayan. 

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The devout and religious may be far from God

In today’s gospel reading, Jesus is talking about the behaviour of the Pharisees towards the crowds and his disciples. They too are people at risk of behaving like Pharisees. Today, there is danger for Christians of becoming Pharisaic.
The Pharisee is a stereotypical character: he represents a way of thinking, judging and acting which is opposite to the gospel; the arguments and beliefs of the Pharisees infiltrate subtly among the disciples and are easily assimilated.

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Correct your neighbour only with honourable intentions

Today we are invited to reflect on Jesus’ recommendations on how to find someone who fail or gets lost.  Jesus says, “Your Father in heaven doesn’t want even one of these little ones to perish.” 
It is up to the shepherd, of course, to search for the sheep that is lost, wounded or at risk of falling into a deep and dark ravine.

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Constant and generous self-sacrifice

Matthew wrote his gospel in a time of persecution. The disciples have often had the experience that, to remain faithful to Christ, they had to accept the breaking of ties with the people who matter most. The rabbis had made the decision to expel the Christians from the synagogues. They had ordered that those who adhered to the Christian faith be considered heretical, be disowned by their families.