Almighty God and Father, on this Memorial of the Queenship of Mary our Blessed Mother, we join her in that most beautiful song of praise to you, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my savior” (Lk.1:47).
Remind us always, O Lord, specially in this time when we exaggerate everything that unlike the royalties of the world, Mary is our Queen not because of power and wealth nor of fame and popularity but precisely due to her humility and weakness before you.
In this time when we are so fond of “triumphalism”, when we overdo even our devotions and prayers to praise and glorify you, remind us O Lord it is not your way as shown to us by the Blessed Mother Mary.
Let us keep in our minds and hearts that Mary, along with all the saints, are venerated because of their obedience to you, fulfilling your will at all times, making you present among us in our weaknesses and helplessness.
We pray for more simplicity and humility, above all, sincerity in our devotions to Mary and the saints that lead to more authentic faith in you alone who is our God Most Holy.
Like Mary our Queen, may we always say “yes” to you O God our “King of kings”. Amen.
Lately I’ve been winning battles left and right But even winners can get wounded in the fight People say that I’m amazing I’m strong beyond my years But they don’t see inside of me I’m hiding all the tears
They don’t know that I come running home when I fall down.They don’t know who picks me up when no one is around I drop my sword and cry for just a while ‘Coz deep inside this armor The warrior is a child
Some of you must have sang the lyrics above from Gary Valenciano’s 2000 hit “Warrior Is A Child”, our Lord My Chef Music this 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Gary’s song speaks so well of our reflections for today that the only bragging rights we have as disciples of Jesus Christ is to be one with him in his Cross, to be weak and wounded to manifest the power and greatness of God in us.
Almost everybody can identify with this song who seem to be so strong on the outside when in fact inside, we are all hurting in pain – a sick loved one, a broken relationship, a failure in an important exam, a lost family member.
That is discipleship in Christ for only those who truly love are willing to sacrifice and even offer their lives for their beloved. It is from this great love like Jesus Christ we his disciples are gifted with his peace, the only possession we are all allowed to have in order to share with others.
May we persevere in our struggles in life, may we keep on loving and forgiving in the name of Jesus Christ, continue to wage his war against evil and darkness for he is fighting with us, fighting for us.
Please forgive me for my curiosity: lately I have noticed the sudden sprouting of many “breastfeeding stations” and “lactation sections” in many public places that I feel so tempted getting inside them just to see how the mothers would react.
One of the joys of prayer is how God would communicate with us even with the most crazy ideas we have like that thought of entering a breastfeeding station. I recalled this thought as I dwelt deeply into Isaiah’s prophecy in our first reading today presenting God like a mother comforting her children the Israelites who were exiled to Babylon.
It was one of the lowest points in the history of the Jewish people when they lost everything – family and friends, country and nation, and most of all, their Temple in Jerusalem that they felt they were forsaken by God. As exiles, they were slaves without any freedom at all.
Thus says the Lord: “Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad because of her, all you who love her, exult, exult with her, all you who were mourning over her! Oh, that you may suck fully of the milk of her comfort, that you may nurse with delight at her abundant breasts! As nurslings, you shall be carried in her arms, and fondled in her lap; as a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; in Jerusalem you shall find your comfort.”
Isaiah 66:10-11, 12b-13
Sometimes, God allows us to experience several blows and beatings in life not because he punishes us or he takes delight in seeing us suffer; sometimes, we need to be like infants and children again to trust God more, to rely to his goodness. It is the surest way to remind us who we really are. That we are not god.
In our second reading, St. Paul bolstered this imagery of our being children of God by reminding us that the only bragging rights we have as disciples of Jesus is to be one with him in his Cross.
Brothers and sisters: May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
As children of the Father and disciples of Jesus, our mark of distinction is not found in our greatness, achievements and success but in our being weak, in our being wounded and bruised, always needing the comfort by God like a mother to her children. This is very clear with St. Paul not only in our second reading today but most especially in his second letter to the Corinthians:
“I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
It is in our weakness when God is most manifested.
Try listening to anyone bragging about his or her achievements and talents: for a time, we get impressed, we admire them but in the long run, it becomes both convulsing and convoluting. But when we come to learn or hear the sacrifices and sufferings of people even those we do not personally know, we feel uplifted. We remember God and his goodness, his mercy and love.
Only the disciples of Christ who join him in his Cross can be filled with the gift of peace, the only possession of every disciple. See how how when Jesus sent out the 72 other disciples, he asked them not to bring anything at all. The only thing they must have is the peace of Jesus Christ that they have to share with everyone they visit.
“Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.'”
Remember that when Jesus visited his Apostles in the locked upper room on the evening of Easter Sunday, he also greeted them with “peace” or “shalom” which is God’s greatest gift to anyone. Shalom in Hebrew means having a good relationship with one’s self, with others, and with God. Peace is always borne out of love and only those willing to sacrifice, suffer and even die for someone are the ones who truly love.
There can be no peace in our hearts when we are filled with pride and ego. We need to be like children again, relying solely in the powers of our parents.
Last Thursday we brought our niece to her doctor at UST Hospital. While waiting for my sister when she left to get the lab results, I saw my niece feeling sleepy. I asked her to sleep on my lap as I gently rubbed her shoulder until she fell asleep soundly and peacefully.
What an attitude of not being bothered by her sickness because she must have great trust in me her uncle, my sister her mom, and also her doctor!
When we embrace our crosses in life and rely solely in Christ, we can also experience peace within. That is when we can rejoice as Jesus assured us, “your names are written in heaven” (Lk. 10:20).
A blessed week ahead to everyone! Jesus loves you, entrust to him all your worries and woes. Amen.
St. Paul’s “little foolishness” yesterday of taking some pride of himself was therapeutic, Lord, for us feeling low. After all, St. Teresa de Avila said “humility is walking in truth” and like St. Paul, we need to be proud sometimes to let people realize the talents you have blessed us with.
But today, Lord, we thank you anew for this beautiful though trying day. And once again, like St. Paul, we have realized that the only bragging rights you have given us is so opposite with the world’s:
Brothers and sisters: since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast. To my shame I say that we were too weak! But what anyone dares to boast of (I am speaking in foolishness) I also dare. If I must boast, I will boast of the things that who my weakness.
2 Corinthians 11:18, 21,30
Lord, what really sets us apart from others, from what St. Paul calls as “super apostles”, are the wounds and hurts we bear in love for you and others. We are all the same in everything but anyone’s greatness can truly be found in his/her weakness as the world sees it: in taking all the beatings of this life, in being patient, in being forgiving, in being understanding, in being persevering.
Yes, Jesus, everybody talks about their achievements and what they have done, of how great they are. But those who truly love and serve you, those who follow you as Christ-ians, boast only of their weakness.
In our weakness, Jesus, we become your dwelling place, we become like you — our only treasure in this life!
Continue to bless, Lord, those who ” store up treasures in heaven”, those who truly love with sincerity in their hearts, those who sacrifice for others, those who suffer in the name of truth and justice. Let their light shine on in you. Amen.