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Jan 21, 2006

JANUARY 22, 2006

JONAH 3:1-5, 10
The word of the LORD came to Jonah, saying: "Set out for the great
city of Nineveh, and announce to it the message that I will tell
you." So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh, according to the
LORD's bidding. Now Nineveh was an enormously large city; it took
three days to go through it. Jonah began his journey through the
city, and had gone but a single day's walk announcing, "Forty days
more and Nineveh shall be destroyed," when the people of Nineveh
believed God; they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and
small, put on sackcloth. When God saw by their actions how they
turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil that he had
threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out. 

I tell you, brothers and sisters, the time is running out. From now
on, let those having wives act as not having them, those weeping as
not weeping, those rejoicing as not rejoicing, those buying as not
owning, those using the world as not using it fully. For the world
in its present form is passing away.

MARK 1:14-20
After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the
gospel of God: "This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God
is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel." As he passed by the
Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their
nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, "Come
after me, and I will make you fishers of men." Then they abandoned
their nets and followed him. He walked along a little farther and
saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were
in a boat mending their nets. Then he called them. So they left
their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and
followed him.

Today's Gospel shows us the beginning of Jesus' ministry, his public
life.  He announces a message, and initiates a program of action. 
The message - "repent."  "Turn away from sin, and believe in the
Good News."  The action - he invites or calls his first disciples.

In these two steps we find the dynamics and process of our
relationship with God, in particular with Jesus.  The first step is
the call to repentance, to a change of life and orientation, values,
and way of thinking.

A story may illustrate this point.  There was a university professor
who went searching for the meaning of life.  After several years and
many miles, he came to the hut of a particularly holy hermit and
asked to be enlightened.  The holy man invited his visitor into his
humble dwelling and began to serve him tea.  He filled the pilgrim's
cup and then kept on pouring so that tea was soon dripping onto the
floor.  The professor watched the overflow until he could no longer
restrain himself.  "Stop!  It is full.  No more will go in."

"Like the cup," said the hermit, "you are full of your own opinions,
preconceptions, and ideas.  How can I teach you unless you first
empty your cup?"

In any relationship with God, it is God who takes the first step. 
He lets us experience Him as a loving God reaching out to us.  The
call to repentance is an invitation to empty ourselves and respond
to Him in love.  To change our life style, open our eyes and ears to
his loving presence.  To be sorry for our sins – all the things that
keep us from loving God and our brothers and sisters.

Renouncing a life of sin and sinfulness to open oneself to the
loving relationship with God; that is not very easy, because
oftentimes we are attached to our sinful ways.  St. Augustine used
to pray, "Lord, grant me the grace of chastity, but not yet."

Jesus invites or calls us.  When we repent of our sins and open
ourselves to God, we maybe able to hear His call.  God does not
force us to do His will.  He invites, He calls.  He calls the
disciples and us to be his friends and companions, to share in his

Like what Jesus did with the first disciples, he calls us to
be "fishers of men and women."  Every now and then people ask
me, "How can I know what is the will of God for me?"  There is no
short cut formula.  The best way is to get to know Jesus Christ
personally, intimately - through the Sacraments, and praying the
Gospel, so that you begin to put on the heart and mind of Christ.

If you are familiar or intimate with Christ you can ask
yourselves, "What would Jesus do, if he were in my place?"  or "What
is the more loving thing to do?"

God gives us many ways of knowing His will according to our levels
of spiritual growth.  Even for non-Christians, they have the natural
wisdom of the elders, and their conscience, although these are not
as systematic as what St. Ignatius proposes in the Spiritual

The call of God is not just to a state of life, like being a priest
or religious, or getting married.  God calls people to a particular

Every year many young men and women - college graduates, or young
professionals, respond to God's call to join the Jesuit Volunteers
of the Philippines (JVP) to work for one or two years among the poor.

Some people may be called by God to teach - teaching for them is not
just a job or career, but a vocation - sharing in the mission of
Christ to care for the young.  Some may be called by God to be
models of loving parents implanting Christian values in the
children.  Others maybe called to reform the business world, or to
put Christian values into politics.

What motivates these people?  Knowing their spiritual life, I would
say that at one point in their lives, they heard the voice of Jesus
saying "Come … I will make you fishers of men and woman."

Let us spend some time to look back into our lives.  Have we ever
heard the invitation of Jesus, "Come, follow me?"  Have we
responded?  If we have not, maybe our cup is too full!

We pray -
- for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
- Thanksgiving and personal intentions of Baby Jane Figuerres.
- for the peace and unity of Charles & Cheryl C.
- for the speedy recovery of Joaquin.
- Birthday: Albert L. Yap
- for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Stanley Y. Tung
- Prayer Intention: Sy Family
- for world peace and reconciliation.

Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.

Have a good day!

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