- Document: Holy Scripture Readings
1.1. First Reading: The Book of Esther 12:14-16, 23-25
1.2. Gospel Reading: The Gospel of St Matthew 7:712
1.3. Simple Comment: Queen Esther, a Jewess in the court of the pagan King Ahasuerus, received the challenge from her co-believer Mordecai to save her people from annihilation. She can only do this by risking her own life, that is, by presenting herself before the King even if he had not called for her presence. She thus entreats Yahweh’s help who alone is God; she relies in Him who remains ever-faithful to His chosen people. Similarly, Jesus challenges his disciples to trust God in all their needs, after all He is not just the Lord of creation, but above all, their loving and caring Father.
- Monument: The Sea of Galilee
2.1. We have been referring to the Sea of Galilee all this time without presenting the characteristics of this body of water – so bountiful for the people of the Galilean region (source of livelihood: fishing) and to the whole country (70% source of water needs).
2.2. The Sea of Galilee is a heart-shaped body of water about eleven miles long at its longest and about seven miles wide at its widest. It is also called Lake of Gennesaret, words taken from a Hebrew word meaning harp, for the sea is also shaped like a harp. It is also known in the New Testament as the Sea of Tiberias, named after the Emperor Tiberias who ruled the Roman world during the public life of Jesus. In fact, a town called Tiberias was built along its shores by Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great who killed the innocents during the infancy period of Jesus’ earthly life.
2.3. On this sea or lake Jesus miraculously walked, approaching the boat of the disciples who were experiencing the menace of the strong winds. A similar occasion was narrated when Jesus was asleep at the stern of this boat and the sea grew suddenly ferocious. Jesus was awakened by his fearful friends, only to find him miraculously calm the sea. On both instances, Jesus chided his disciples for their unbelief and lack of trust. He is the Lord; above all, he is their friend. How could they not trust his loving presence?
- Lenten Reflection
3.1. Adam and Eve had this temptation – to eat the fruit of the tree in the middle of the Garden in order to be god, that is, to rid themselves of their dependence on their Creator. We keep on deceiving ourselves that a time should come when we could hack life just on our own; we can take care of ourselves! Today many persons in the US and Europe do away with the word Christ for their expressions of greeting. So they prefer to have on their cards and emails just Happy Holidays! without any reference to the reason of the season! Similarly, the European Union does not want to explicitly state in their Constitution the word Christian tradition or Christian heritage.
3.2. Does this independence from God actually bring development and progress? Think: only 15 countries of the world possess and or manage 85% of the world’s total resources; most live in poverty and disenfranchisement. This imbalance is a major cause of present-day conflict like the control of the oil resource. Think again: USA has a total population of 300 million, so it comprises at the most only 4.5% of the world’s 7 billion population. Yet, USA consumes 25% of the world’s goods … automatically it creates poverty because the equitable share of 20% of other people has already been consumed by this 4.5%. Brushing God aside makes people brush each other away!
- Contemporary Filipino Question: Only 15 families in the Philippines own 75% of the country’s resources. Is this the mark of progress? Yet we take the US and the Western economy as our model for national development. This is something we really need to act upon, and not just think about.