Saturday, September 02, 2006




DEUTERONOMY 4:1-2, 6-8
Moses said to the people: "Now, Israel, hear the statutes and
decrees which I am teaching you to observe, that you may live, and
may enter in and take possession of the land which the LORD, the God
of your fathers, is giving you. In your observance of the
commandments of the LORD, your God, which I enjoin upon you, you
shall not add to what I command you nor subtract from it. Observe
them carefully, for thus will you give evidence of your wisdom and
intelligence to the nations, who will hear of all these statutes and
say, `This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.' For
what great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the LORD,
our God, is to us whenever we call upon him? Or what great nation
has statutes and decrees that are as just as this whole law which I
am setting before you today?"

JAMES 1:17-18, 21B-22, 27
Dearest brothers and sisters: All good giving and every perfect gift
is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom
there is no alteration or shadow caused by change. He willed to
give us birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of
firstfruits of his creatures. Humbly welcome the word that has been
planted in you and is able to save your souls. Be doers of the word
and not hearers only, deluding yourselves. Religion that is pure
and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans
and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the

MARK 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem
gathered around Jesus, they observed that some of his disciples ate
their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands. - For the
Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews, do not eat without carefully
washing their hands, keeping the tradition of the elders. And on
coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying
themselves. And there are many other things that they have
traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and
kettles and beds. - So the Pharisees and scribes questioned
him, "Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders
but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?" He responded, "Well did
Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written: This people
honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain
do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts. You
disregard God's commandment but cling to human tradition." He
summoned the crowd again and said to them, "Hear me, all of you, and
understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that
person; but the things that come out from within are what
defile. "From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts,
unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit,
licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils
come from within and they defile."

It is not uncommon to find people who would go to Mass every day and
receive Holy Communion. But once the Mass is over, they unleash
slander and poisonous gossip from their hearts and tongues. When
they reach home, they curse and shout at their house-helps and

Today, you would often find people at the back of the church, or in
the parking lot chatting and playing while "attending Mass." Often
during Mass, cell phones would ring and people would rush out of the
church to answer their phone calls, as if somebody more important
than God is calling their attention.

Fr. Ruben Tanseco, S.J., tells the example of a young woman at the
communion line, who right after receiving the sacred Host, turns
around and starts texting obviously oblivious of whom she had just
received. She may be physically present at Mass, but her heart and
soul are not.

Often people would call to ask, "How late can I be before I'm
considered missing Mass?" For them the Eucharist is a burden, an
obligation they grudgingly have to comply with.

Then there are those who come to Mass to be entertained by the
homilies of the priests, not to listen to the word of God. They
complain when the priest explains the Scripture readings and draws
lessons from them. They are pleased when the priest just cracks
jokes and sings during homilies.

The Philippines is the only Catholic country in Asia with 80% to 90%
of the people baptized as Catholics. Yet it is the country with
problems of graft and corruption, violence and crimes, pornography,
scams and scandals, dishonesty and selfishness. We practice what
psychologists call "split-level Christianity."

Today's Scripture readings invite us to look into our hearts and to
ask ourselves to what extent the words of Jesus in today's Gospel
reading apply to us: "This people honors Me with their lips, but
their hearts are far from Me."

They invite us to look into our own hearts and ask ourselves to what
extent the words of James in today's second reading apply to
us: "Act on [God's] word. If all you do is listen to it, you are
deceiving yourselves."

Let's close by prayerfully re-reading Paul's famous words on love in
his First Letter to the Corinthians:

"I may be able to speak the language of men and even of angels.
But if I have no love,
My speech is no more than a noisy gong....
I may have all the faith needed to move mountains -
But if I have no love, I am nothing.
I may give away everything I have...
But if I have no love,
This does me no good....
It is love, then, that you should strive for."

We pray ...
- for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn.
- for the safe travel of Kit and Mat.
- for the enlightenment, wisdom and knowledge of Jan Michael B.
- for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- In Memoriam (+): Mr. & Mrs. Agustin Uy
- In Memoriam (+): Andres Son Keng Po
- 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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� 2006 Daily-Homily

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