DOES PRAYER REALLY WORK? (Luke 18:1-8): 17 October 2010 (Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

DOES PRAYER REALLY WORK? (Luke 18:1-8):  17 October 2010 (Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

Today’s Reading

Note:  A version of this homily was delivered in Xavier School last October 6, 2010, but it fits our Gospel Reading today.

About five years ago, an interesting scientific research was conducted by a team of doctors.  The study is called STEP, which stands for “Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer.” The research is interesting because it’s a kind of experiment on the effects of prayer on patients undergoing a delicate surgery called CABG–or Coronary Artery Bypass Graft.

The doctors behind STEP wanted to answer two research questions:

First: Does intercessory prayer–or praying for the patients–help them recover from surgery?

Second:  Are there benefits if the patients are assured of prayers?  In other words, do they recover faster? I’d like to talk about this today because in today’s Gospel reading, our Lord asks us to pray–even nag Him like the persistent widow who never gave up on the judge. Continue reading DOES PRAYER REALLY WORK? (Luke 18:1-8): 17 October 2010 (Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

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THE MEMORY OF ONE’S LEPROSY (Luke 17:11-19): 10 October 2010 (Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

THE MEMORY OF ONE’S LEPROSY (Luke 17:11-19): 10 October 2010 (Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

Today’s Reading

Today leprosy is considered a thing of the past.  No longer the dreaded biblical scourge that it used to be, it is relatively easy to cure these days, thanks to a multi-drug therapy developed in the 1980s and declared its definitive cure.  Leprosy has today become the forgotten disease.

A visit to Isla Culion a couple of weeks ago, however, helped me remember.The island, the country’s largest leper’s colony for nearly a century from 1906 to 1992, bears a history that reminds us of the stigma of the disease. In 1906, armed men rounded up thousands of victims of leprosy from all over the country to ship them to Culion for segregation and treatment. Continue reading THE MEMORY OF ONE’S LEPROSY (Luke 17:11-19): 10 October 2010 (Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

MAKING THE HOMELESS KING (Matthew 25:31-46): 23 November 2008 (Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ the King)

MAKING THE HOMELESS KING (Matthew 25:31-46):  23 November 2008 (Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ the King)

Today’s Readings

Back in 2004, I accepted the invitation of some Jesuits to visit our school for the disabled.  From the moment I stepped out of the airport in Phnom Penh, I noticed that every major road and every other street corner displayed the picture of one man.  My companions informed me that a week before, Cambodia had just crowned a new king, Sihamoni, to succeed his father.  To celebrate the occasion and to show their acceptance of the new king, all of Cambodia put up his pictures everywhere, from medium-sized photographs to gigantic billboards.  As a result, no tourist—and certainly no Cambodian—had any excuse to claim that he does not recognize the new king. Continue reading MAKING THE HOMELESS KING (Matthew 25:31-46): 23 November 2008 (Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ the King)

REVISING OUR DREAMS (Matthew 25:14-30): 16 November 2008 (Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time)

REVISING OUR DREAMS (Matthew 25:14-30):  16 November 2008 (Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time)

Today’s Readings

Today’s Gospel reading is known as the “Parable of the Talents.”  According to its usual interpretation, its moral lesson is:  “Don’t just preserve your God-given talents.  Develop them!”  To that, we can even add that we should also share our talents with others, in contrast to “burying” them and keeping them to ourselves.  But what happens if we’ve been developing a talent, and then it turns out we don’t have that talent, after all?
Continue reading REVISING OUR DREAMS (Matthew 25:14-30): 16 November 2008 (Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time)

MANAGING OUR ANGER (John 2:13-22): 09 November 2008 (Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome)

MANAGING OUR ANGER (John 2:13-22):  09 November 2008 (Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome)

Today’s Readings

There’s a small ethnic tribe in the southern Sierra Madre on the east side of Luzon called the Ilongot tribe. The interesting thing about their language is that it has no word for “anger.”  The closest term they have for it is “liget”—which means “energy or passion,” not exactly anger. Continue reading MANAGING OUR ANGER (John 2:13-22): 09 November 2008 (Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome)

IMAGINING THE DEAD (John 6:37-40): 02 November 2008 (Commemoration of All Souls)

IMAGINING THE DEAD (John 6:37-40):  02 November 2008 (Commemoration of All Souls)

Today’s Readings

I wasn’t particularly crazy about the “Titanic,” that 1997 movie directed by James Cameron, which, by the way, not only broke box office records but also won the Oscar for Best Picture that year.  But years after seeing it, I still remember its final scene. Continue reading IMAGINING THE DEAD (John 6:37-40): 02 November 2008 (Commemoration of All Souls)

COMPARTMENTALIZING YOUR LIFE (Matthew 22:15-21): 19 October 2008 (Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

COMPARTMENTALIZING YOUR LIFE (Matthew 22:15-21):  19 October 2008 (Twenty-Ninth  Sunday in Ordinary Time)

 

Today’s Readings

In today’s Gospel reading, our Lord utters his famous line:  “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and repay to God what belongs to God.”  At first glance, he seems to be proposing a division between our usual lives and our so-called spiritual lives.  Sort of like Sunday Christianity, when people act like Christians only when they go to Sunday services.  As for the rest of the week, they act “normally”–that is, not in any particularly religious or even moral way. Continue reading COMPARTMENTALIZING YOUR LIFE (Matthew 22:15-21): 19 October 2008 (Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

STRAYING INTO THE GUEST LIST (Mt 22:1-14): 12 October 2008 (Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

STRAYING INTO THE GUEST LIST (Mt 22:1-14):  12 October 2008 (Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

Today’s Readings

In his book What’s So Amazing about Grace? Philip Yancey talks about an interesting article that came out in The Boston Globe back in June 1990.  The article, which was called “A Most Unusual Wedding Party,” tells the story of a wedding—or at least what was supposed to be a wedding.  Everything had been prepared, including the expensive wedding ring.  Months before the wedding, the bride and the groom-to-be planned a great reception.  The couple had gone to the Hyatt Hotel in downtown Boston and painstakingly picked out the menu, the china and silver, and even the flower arrangements that they liked.  The bill came to $13,000, and for something like that, they had to leave a 50% down payment. Continue reading STRAYING INTO THE GUEST LIST (Mt 22:1-14): 12 October 2008 (Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

COPING WITH REJECTION (Mt 21:33-43): 05 October 2008 (Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time)

COPING WITH REJECTION (Mt 21:33-43):  05 October 2008 (Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time)

Today’s Readings

A TV spot from the “Foundation for A Better Life” tells a sad and familiar story:  A new girl looks tentatively around a crowded school cafeteria, food tray in hand.  After what feels like an eternity, she spots an empty seat and finds the courage to join a group of girls her age.  “Would it be okay if I sat here?” she asks.  All it takes is a look, and the new girl knows:  She is an intruder, an outsider, a leper. The group rises as one and leaves her quite abruptly alone with her food tray. Continue reading COPING WITH REJECTION (Mt 21:33-43): 05 October 2008 (Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time)

QUESTIONED BY A MONSTER MOVIE (Mt 21:28-32): Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (28 September 2008)

QUESTIONED BY A MONSTER MOVIE (Mt 21:28-32):  Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (28 September 2008)

Today’s Readings

Someone recently handed me a DVD of “Cloverfield,” a 2008 monster movie produced by JJ Abrams of the “Lost” TV series. I had seen the provocative trailer on the Internet weeks before the release, and wanted to know why its poster showed a headless Statue of Liberty standing before a burning Manhattan skyline.  I had been warned that watching it would make you dizzy because of its hand-held camera technique reminiscent of  “The Blairwitch Project.” Just the same I watched the movie the first chance I got.     Continue reading QUESTIONED BY A MONSTER MOVIE (Mt 21:28-32): Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (28 September 2008)