pins of light

scattered hints to provoke thought and talk about God

WHERE IS YOUR SILOAM?

March 26th, 2017

This homily is on the healing of the blind man as recounted in John 9:1-41.

This healing miracle, unlike others, did not happen instantaneously. While the other healing of our Lord was achieved with almost just one word or a single touch, this one involved several steps–including the use of the bizarre mixture of saliva and spittle.

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But what struck me the most about this healing miracle was that after the Lord’s elaborate healing ritual, the man wasn’t healed yet! He had first to find the Pool of Siloam to wash his own eyes.

If we read between the lines, as we are always expected to do when we read the Scripture, we will realize that in this particular instance, the blind man was not merely a receiver of his healing; he was also an agent of it: He to do some work so that he would be healed.

There’s an important message here for us who seek healing in our lives. We can’t just sit around waiting for the Lord to do all the work. It takes two, the Lord seems to be telling us. We need to pray as hard as we can to ask Him to perform the healing, but that’s not all there is to it. Perhaps there is something that we need to do. Some illnesses require at least a decision on the part of those afflicted to be well. Call it “positive thinking” or simply the will to live, but it is a necessary ingredient in healing.

Now, don’t get carried and think that all we need is positive thinking. Some pastors or priests preach the so-called “wealth and health gospel”–i.e., all you have to do is believe and you will be rich and healthy. That’s really over-simplifying–and distorting–reality. That’s not how the real world works–unfortunately. A lot of factors apart from your thoughts about being wealthy and healthy interact to determine whether or not you’ll be either wealthy or healthy. Positive thinking and the efforts we exert to be wealthy or healthy are necessary elements, but they’re not enough. God also has to bless our efforts the way our Lord sent off the blind man to the Pool of Siloam to wash his eyes.

So, some questions to ask ourselves today: What kind of healing do you need in your life? And are you willing to do your part to achieve this healing? Where is your pool of Siloam?

 

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HOW CAN YOU, JESUS?

March 19th, 2017

This homily for the Third Sunday of Lent is based on John 4:5-42.

Today’s Gospel gives us a strange little story. Jesus stops by a well while his disciples are off doing errands, and a Samaritan woman emerges to draw some water from the well. She probably eyes him cautiously. “A Jew,” she warns herself, quickly looking away. And then just when she least expects it, she hears the stranger address her: “Give me a drink.”

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SKIN-DEEP

March 12th, 2017

This homily is based on Matthew 17:1-9.

Many things can be said about the event of the Transfiguration of our Lord. It is literally Jesus’ “brief shining moment”–when his divinity, just for that moment, shines through. It astonishes his select disciples, but before they knew it, the moment was gone.

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THE DEVIL LEAVES NO STONE UNTURNED

March 5th, 2017

This homily, based on Matthew 4:1-11, was delivered at the EAPI chapel.

In the desert our Lord Jesus undergoes three temptations. One of them seems out of place. One doesn’t seem to belong with the other two. Can you tell which one?

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Let’s review the three temptations. In the first temptation, our Lord is invited to turn stone into bread in order to sate his hunger–a hunger that must have grown really intense given his 40 days of fasting. In the second temptation, the devil entices our Lord to deceive people by putting up a show–tossing himself from the top of the temple to compel the angels to launch a rescue mission. In his third attempt, the devil blatantly bribes our Lord with all the kingdoms in the world–if only he fall on his knees to worship the devil.

DO YOU CATASTROPHIZE?

February 26th, 2017

This homily is on Matthew 6:24-34.

In today’s Gospel reading, our Lord Jesus repeats what is probably God’s favorite message in the Bible: “Do not be afraid!”

Think of the times when God showed up for the first time before his prophets–or when He sent His angel Gabriel to Mary at the Annunciation, or to Joseph in his dream, or even to that flock of shepherds on the very first Christmas night.

There are claims that this phrase–or its equivalent–occurs 365 times in the Bible–one for each day of the year!

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WHO IS MY ENEMY?

February 19th, 2017

This homily is based on Matthew 5:38-48.

Did you flinch when you just heard the Lord say, “Love your enemies”? My theory is that, if you didn’t, it’s probably because you didn’t hear what he’s trying to tell us today. Or, you didn’t really think of your enemies.

“Who is my enemy?” you might ask.

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SLIPPERY SLOPE

February 12th, 2017

This homily is based on Matthew 5:17-37.

In today’s Gospel reading, our Lord raises the bar beyond our usual moral comfort zones. It’s not enough that we don’t commit murder, he tells his listeners. Treating others with anger is sin enough. It’s great that we’re not committing adultery, he continues. But the bad news is, just nursing lust in our heart already makes us virtual adulterers.

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ARE YOU GOING BLAND OR DIM?

February 5th, 2017

This homily, based on Matthew 5:13-16, was delivered at the EAPI Chapel.

In today’s Gospel reading, our Lord offers us two familiar images of how His disciple should make a difference in the world: salt and light. Like salt to water, we are called to change the world by giving it flavor. Like light to night, the good deeds we do are expected to serve as a shining example to inspire others to do the same.

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