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The solemnity of Jesus Christ, the Divine Master, celebrated every last Sunday in October, was officially recognized by the Holy See on September 24, 1958. On numberless occasions, the Founder of the Pauline Family, Blessed James Alberione, explained the meaning of our spirituality as centered on Christ the Master. The solemnity which we celebrate every year is meant to be the point of departure and of arrival for an intense spritual life. Blessed Alberione said:

“This devotion is not limited to a simple prayer or some hymns. Rather, it takes in the whole person. Lived well, it gives God complete worship – always in Christ and through Jesus Christ…Our devotion to the Divine Master must be learned in order to apply it to spiritual work, to study, to the apostolate and to the entire religious life.”

The 9-day novena in preparation for the Feast of the Divine Master has the main theme on “Jesus the Teacher, Word of God to All”, according to the Post Synodal Exhortation of Pope Benedict XVI.  Sub-themes for the novena were expounded and shared by the invited Priest Presider.

Here are a few brief thought of the preachers during the novena Mass.


21 October, 2011 – DAY 1: WORD OF GOD AND CREATION   ~   Rev. Msgr. Dennis Villarojo

… we want more than we actually need… have only the things that are necessary and to live a decent life; and, to be concerned with what other people do need… what happens is that there is an imbalance: in the economy, in the disposal of waste, in the ecology and the environment. You should once in your lifetime visit the Inayawan dumpsite and see how much waste we have consumed and thrown away.

… if we become more conscious of our responsibility, then we don’t waste so much, we don’t want so much and we con’t throw away so many things… is this of spirituality? Yes, because spirituality is not just about praying or doing good to others. It is also being responsible for the things that you use because we are all connected… It is also being simple in one’s life because simplicity is a sign that you trust in God, you belive that he takes care of you. And that whatever material things there may be available for your own consumption are not really in the substance of your being.

…Sometimes because of our insecurity, we accumulate things… we ought to give away that which we do not need, especially to those who do not have. At the same time, try to limit our needs. We can only do that if we develop a profound spirituality: a relationship with the Lord that restores all the disorder in our life — disorder in our relationship with each other, the earth, and, ultimately, with God.


  22 October, 2011 – DAY 2: WORD OF GOD AND SOCIAL COMMUNICATIONS MEDIA    ~ Rev. Fr. Leonardo Ellezar, SSP

… in this series of our novena Mass to the Divine Master, let us ask the Lord of the harvest that we may be courageous enough to have/face the challenges of the modern world.

We are called to be communicators of the Word. As communicators of the Word, we must also be adapted to the signs of the times. A great Swiss theologian says: ‘If we are in the field of media, we must be aware that our one hand is on the Bible and the other hand is on the newspaper.’

So we cannot stop technology. We need to take advantage of media in tis various levels including the risks of media technology inorder to bring the Good News of salvation to all peoples and cultures.

May the dimension of joy and hope become what the seed of the Word nourishes today. Let us make evangelization credible by our own witnessing and by our own way of life.


23 October, 2011 – DAY 3: WORD OF GOD AND CONSECRATED LIFE    ~ Rev. Fr. Renel Cabag, OAD

Consecrated Life is born from hearing the Word of God and embracing the Gospel as its Rule of Life. The hearing and encounter with the Word is a necessary imperative for the birthing of Consecrated Life.

True Christian vocation and consecration is no other than the love of the Word of God: the Word that was made flesh, who is Jesus Christ. It is the heeding of Jesus our Divine Master’s invitation to come and follow him. Be his disciple… Do not be afraid… You have chosen the better part


24 October, 2011 – DAY 4: WORD OF GOD AND the POOR   ~ Msgr Achilles Dakay

On the 4th day of the novena in preparation for the Feast of the Divine Master,  the following is an extract from the homily of Msgr Achilles Dakay…

The past three days, evenings, we have reflected on the theme, first, Word of God and Creation; second, Word of God and the means of social communications; third, the Word of God and Consecrated Life.  Word of God, of course, is Jesus himself, the Word made flesh; and, the Word of God is the holy Gospel, the good news about Jesus Christ.

On this 4th day, let us try to reflect on the theme the Word of God and the poor.

During Jesus’ time, the poor were the hungry, the strangers, the sick, the sinners, the prisoners, the naked; and, he dealt very well with them.  Today the poor has many names. The poor now are called underprivileged. They are now called unwanted. They are now called marginalized.

How did Jesus, the Word of God in his Gospels… how did he deal with the poor? He himself was born poor. He was born and laid in a manger. He was born and buried on a borrowed grave (from Joseph of Arimathea)… In the Gospel, our Lord is really teaching us how to deal with anyone we may call poor.  First of all, we are told that Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, in a chapel. In other words, he made himself available to anyone and approachable by anyone. No wonder, the woman – without name, without address – approached Jesus. She was badly stooped, incapable of standing erect… it was clear that she was in need.  She did not say anything to Jesus. She did not pray even. She just presented herself as she was.  How did Jesus react? Jesus SAW her.

A first tip we may learn from the Lord: day after day, from church to home, from office to home Monday to Saturday, we should try to look around, to see, to open our eyes. And this Word, Jesus, saw. He called her to him. And he himself started to say: ‘Woman, even if you have not prayed for anything, I see your misery. I have mercy on you. You are freed from your infirmity.’  We cannot say the same as Jesus… however, we can always give words of encouragement.  Infirmities and diseases are natural and manmade. If we want to be freed of them … let us accept with humility and resignation…

Aside from words, we are told that Jesus laid his hands on her… he touched her… let us be near each other… that is why everytime we come to Mass, let us try to be seated near to each other… we have to touch each other’s lives…


  25 October, 2011 – DAY 5: WORD OF GOD AND SUFFERING  ~ Fr. Dan de los Angeles

Starting his homily from the day’s Gospel reading of St Luke, Fr Dan de los Angeles shared his thoughts on the 5th novena day’s theme, WORD OF GOD and SUFFERING…

For us priests, it’s very difficult to preach about the kingdom. One, we haven’t been there yet, we cannot describe it… worse, the listeners have no idea, whatsoever, what the kingdom of God is. Third and most important reason, even Christ was vague in his description of what the kingdom is. He only compared it to our experience of a seed. Ang kingdom daw ay katulad ng isang buto, is like a seed planted in the ground. In our experience, one seed, one plant. Is there a seed, is there a plant that requires so many seeds and so many seeds sprouting and it comes out only one plant? Wala ano?  Normally, in our experience, one seed, one plant. Ang pagkakaiba pos a pagkaintindi ko sa Gospel about the kingdom of God is it is unique. One tree representing the kingdom, so many seeds that must be a lamp in order to bring forth the kingdom… one tree representing the kingdom but it doesn’t sprout unless all the seeds planted together will live to the full inorder to realise that one single plant which we call the kingdom. ‘Yon po ang pagkakaiba. Because in our experience, one seed one plant. In the kingdom, one plant so many seeds, it will not grow. The plant will not grow until and unless all the seeds under the ground will all live their lives to the full. That explains why until now we cannot yet feel the fullness of the kingdom because not everybody is living their lives to the full. That’s why, as we continue to realize the kingdom we must help one another to live their lives to the full. You cannot say, it doesn’t concern me, bahala kayo maimpiyerno kayo… we have to help one another so that together we shall also be in heaven.

We have to leave everyone live their lives to the full so that we will realize the kingdom. This brings us to the topic on suffering. What about those people who are suffering? Do they have any chance to live their lives to the full? May karapatan ba ang mga maysakit at mga nagdurusa to live their lives to the full?  Yes, according to the post synodal exhortation Verbum Dominikaya nga po kailangang alagaan – that’s the importance! That’s why we should not leave the sick to suffer alone…may leakage ‘yung final exam papunta sa langit…  what is the final question before you enter heaven? It’s not that naging madre ka ba… walang pakialam si Lord dyan… naging presidente ka ba ng Pilipinas? Walang pakialam si Lord. Ang kanya lang, I was hungry, you feed me. I was thirsty, you give me something to drink. I was in prison, did you visit me? I was lonely, did you console me, did you comfort me? If you summarize all these, the summary is that sa pangangailangan dapat huwag  iwanan ang ating kapwa tao…  Especially during suffering, we should be there to comfort them because they also have their right to live their lives to the full.

Mga kapatid, naniniwala po ba kayo na suffering is the result of sin? Ang pagdurusa po ba ay resulta, bunga ng kasalanan? … Suffering is the result of sin… do you believe that suffering is the result of sin? Some would say, No. Some would say, Yes… Sabi ng Verbum Domini … according to the book of Wisdom 2:23-24, suffering comes to the world as a result of sin… two kind of sin; personal in the sense of personal sin and suffering as a result of sin by agency.

… personal sin, suffering is caused by our own kapabayaan… is not redemptive suffering… iwanan ang bisyo, come and resurrect with the Lord…  the other one is sin by agency, there are people who use their freedom to make others suffer. There are some people who use their freedom to step on the dignity of others. God respects freedom. God cannot do anything to the bad person making you suffer…  before the justice of God, no one can be justified because we are all sinners in our thoughts, words and deeds… when bad people use their freedom to make you suffer, God cannot do anything… What can God do? To give merits to you when you suffer religiously after doing everything to establish justice… that’s why we have the Cross…

Verbum Domini, the Word of God is an action word… inorder to flourish, you should do something to change society… the kingdom of God will flourish here only if each and everyone will live their lives to the full… of what use is your religiosity if you don’t  influence other people to live their lives to the full. So, go forth, Christians! After this novena, I hope that something will happen in your immediate vicinity so that, at least, instead of cursing in the dark, you light just one flicker of the candle, it’s enough to brighten the world… is your suffering personal? … is your suffering caused by others? …

  26 October, 2011 – DAY 6: WORD OF GOD AND the MIGRANTS  ~ Fr. Brandit Bohol

Fr Brandit Bohol shared his thoughts on the 6th novena day’s Mass  theme, WORD OF GOD and MIGRANTS…

… I was given the theme the Word of God and the Migrants. Before I did not bother to see the real meaning of the term migrant.  And when I tried to study my theme based on the gospel,  naglibog ko unsa maning migrants, ug unsa maning mga immigrants? … Sa inyong huna-huna… unsay kalainan sa migrants ug sa immigrants? … I tried to make some research … migrants, moving from place to place, looking for greener pastures though their pagbiya does not involve crossing the border of a country… we have lots of migrants workers  in other countries… dili sila permanente… an immigrant is someone who relocates from outside the country to inside a country…

My dear friends, I thought before na maayo ang kinabuhi ng mga workers… I was also able to meet some migrant workers in Taiwan, in Hong Kong… I was able to visit some migrant workers in Italy… they have one sharing … life is not all pleasant for them… don’t expect na maayo ang kinabuhi sa atong mga migrant workers… sorry  to say this but there are migrant workers who would resort to selling themselves…  while the family left behind thinks that they have gone to ‘paradise’ which isn’t true…

How would you connect the Word of God and these migrant people? … in the Gospel today Jesus was asked, ‘Lord, who can be saved?? We have to remember that it is not only us who would want to be saved, even the Muslims would want to be saved according to their customs… Everyone wants to be saved…

There is a writer who said, ‘I shall never pass this way again. If there is any good that I have to do, I must do it now, not later but now because I may never pass this way again.’  Whatever good we can do for the Lord today, let us do it now… that is our mission… we have the responsibility to pray for all… we must pray for all the migrant workers and give them our Christian support…


27 October, 2011 – DAY 7: WORD OF GOD AND the YOUNG PEOPLE  ~ Fr. Crescensiano Ubud

The theme for today is the Word of God and the young People. I think it’s not anymore isolated or an unknown reality for each one of us that our young people is so attracted to the world rather than to the Word of God. I don not know if the young only and the old ones are not included. I was still a seminarian in the Central Seminary of the UST , I was 4th theology. There were  visitators of the Dominican community from Africa, France and America… Having been asked of the scarcity of vocations in France and the USA at their visit to the Central Seminary, they said that the young people are attracted to materialism and the comforts, the joys and pleasures of the world. Is this true or not in your experience? To the young people here — to whom are you attracted? To prayer or to computer games? The malls or the churches? With barkada (peers) or with service to the church? Catechesis and many other activities in the Church?

These are now the challenges. How can we bridge the Word of God which is the source of life, graces and hoiliness and make it attractive to the young people who are very, very distracted  by the worldly attractions. Computers are very attractive in the world. Pornography are attractive nowadays. Vices are very attractive nowadays. Malls and  shopping centers and amusement centers are very attractive nowadays. Cellphones , the internet and other global communications are now very attractive that our young people can no longer pay attention to things of God. Instead, they want to look at their computers and cellphones all the time. Including the old ones ‘no… some of them.

Now, how can we bridge? St Paul in the first reading tells us, ‘Who can separate us from the love of Christ?’ This must be our first inspiration. That despite the distractions, despite the seemingly evil society, the love of God is still around. From this knowledge, from this realization that the love of God is still  in our midst, we’re still in the love of God, then the first thing that we need to do is to let the young people, through us, experience this love of God in which and from which we are not separated. Let them experience this love. How? If the parents would give  enough time in transmitting their Christian love to their children. The only problem now is that the old ones are also attracted to the things which they believe can give good future to the young ones,  to their children. And that is money. Money now becomes the measure of family success. And parents with this kind of thinking that if I have sufficient money I can give good future to my children,  leaving their children and going abroad, or, focusing on their business, no more time to talk, to bond, time for informal conversation or relationship with their children…. Because of this, many untoward incidents or situations are happening now in our society, in family settings – We hear of sons who killed their mothers, etc… Can you imagine this? What is the problem?  They don’t experience anymore the love… love. How to transmit this love? In the Gospel,  Jesus showed us on  how to transmit this love. First, do not be afraid to die, to suffer. The world now is highlighting that what is important is our pleasure, our comfort, our joy. And, avoid sufferings in order to be happy.

What is the Christian paradigm to attain happiness? If  you read the Beatitudes, Matthew 5, it is written, Blessed are the poor in spirit, yours is the kingdom of God… Embrace poverty  and you will receive riches. Blessed are those who mourn,  you will be comforted. Blessed are you when you are persecuted,  the kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are you when you are insulted and cursed and uttered all sort of evil words because of me, rejoice and be glad…  do you believe in that?

… Experience God’s message through the young people… let the young people feel that they belong…. It is not always the old ones who bring the message… wait for your turn…let the young ones give you their message… parents, ask your children, what is your message to me? Befriend your children… let them know that nothing can change your love for them. That is the message of God, the message of love…


  28 October, 2011 – DAY 8: WORD OF GOD and INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE  ~ Fr. Raul Buhay, OAR

We are now on the penultimate day of the novena. My theme for tonight is the Word of God and Interreligious Dialogue… I think I like the theme. In the first place it talks about this dialogue. The word dialogue comes from Greek dia and logos. Since we have the Word of God in the theme as a constant during these 9 days, we are made to think how the Word of God goes through in creation, in the history of man, and in our relationship with everyone.  Dialogue, therefore, is based on a word that we use in order that we can establish that relationship. And the IRD, interreligious dialogue or inter-faith dialogue  is simply based on that. Try to thresh out which things that you like passed…in our context today when we try to get out yet from our biblical consideration, we go into our social context in the Philippines we realize that there are many initials when we go into out interfaith dialogue. And this dialogue, however, is limited with our brothers in Mindanao. You have the Ulama Bishops Conference – UBC which is the umbrella organization that tries to guide all the other initiatives of dialogue with our Muslim brothers. Because under that one, you have the UPPID – Priest-Pastors-Imam Dialogue. They are going ahead with several activities in order to engage our brothers on the table so that we can have a meeting point. But then, there has been a change because while we want that we come together in order to talk the values that make us believers of God. We realize that the turn of events have made our negotiating people to talk more about peace,  not anymore about points of faith but rather about peace. And it has  become a political negotiation. And up to now, practically, they are not talking about Mary in Koran,  Mary on the bible, about Jesus in Koran, Jesus in the bible. Things like that…

There are many things actually in our faith that can bring us together.  Unfortunately, this has become a bit ugly in Mindanao because of so much political involvement. It is no longer simply trying to understand faith but to obtain dominion over the territory and that makes it truly political in nature. But then there is this thing that we have to remember when we are dealing with our brothers. How I wish you would have the chance to go to Mindanao and to realize  the day to day life of our priests who are engaged in the apostolate where there are many Muslim brothers…

For us, what is this?  There is only one thing that I would want to share with you. And it is that when dealing with people of different faith and even with those who share the same faith with us, we have to remember the basics of our faith.  Only one thing. It goes down to the commandment that Jesus gave us. It is the commandment of love.  Love one another as I have loved you. By the love that you have for others, they will know that you are my disciples. And all the commandments are summarized into these two commandments, love God above all things;  love your neighbour as yourself.

But then St Augustine says, Love is not an abstract term. Neither is it a feeling. Because if it is a feeling, then Jesus would have told us, Love one another when you feel like loving. But no, it is not love others every now and then. Or love God every now and then.  St Augustine says that this love is a giving of self that embraces the totality of the person. No reservation.  And no expectation of anything as compensation for loving. And it is the true love. And in doing so we have to ask ourselves: How can we spell out love? How can it become concrete in our lives?  ….  I remember reading about this interreligious thing,  the  fundamentals of loving. First,  that we should be welcoming. When we deal with people of different faith, we should be welcoming to them. Meaning to say that we not make our biases, our prejudices prevail over that moment of encounter with that person.  But rather let them disappear and try to see the face of God in that person. In that way, we are able to welcome that person.  But let it not only be for people of different faith.  Let it also be for the people who are close to you… who are close us, the people we know. Because many times, just because we know them, we are already more biased against them.  That is why they say in Britain,  The  more I know people, the more I love my dog,

And, the other commandment of love is to make the other person feel he is welcome in word and in deed… that is our failings sometimes. We do not have to get out of our context, but right  there we know and understand that somehow we are failing  in love  because we are not making the other person feel that he is truly welcome into  our lives. Because love is opening oneself;  becoming totally defenceless before the other person. Because you want to welcome the person into your life.  We should not mind what kind of person, or the pain that the person may have inflicted upon us.

The other commandment of love is trust and respect.  And that is what the Government is possibly trying to do, to continue respect to the other. But the Church, it has always been doing so. The Church has always been trusting even if we have had several victims already…  We have to understand that the Muslims are also God’s children. They are also trying their best. Maybe we just need to really understand them.

And, of course, there is the forgiveness.  The Church, (even when we have lost Fr. Tentorio, not to the Muslims maybe, but other people, other priests, other missionaries had been lost to them), the Church never said that we should avenge their deaths. That we should be unforgiving. The Church has always been quiet… the Church continues with that attitude that we should be forgiving towards them.

And finally, another commandment of love is to help. To help with our time, our resources, with our talents… As Christians we should help everyone… Being welcoming… being helpful, trusting, forgiving… helping these people are the commandments of love. These commandments have to be realized not only with those of different creed. Likewise with the people we see everyday of our lives. Because wherever we are, the mark of love must characterize us.




  29 October, 2011 – DAY 9: WORD OF GOD and CULTURE  ~ Fr. Greg Staab, OMV

… In Mark we hear the gospel must first be preached to all nations, In Matthew chapter 24 this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout  the whole world as a testimony to all nations and then the end will come…  So we are in the time of the gentiles when the Word of God has to be spread throughout the entire world. And mysteriously, Judaism continues to exist after all these centuries. Mysteriously. The other nations was and been, came and went. Different cultures came and went. Judaism mysteriously remains after all these centuries. Because we have a mission to fulfil in salvation history. When the time of the gentiles is complete, the Jews will have the grace to recognize the Messiah. And now we read the signs of the end about to come.

St Bernard of Clairvaux, he was talking to Pope Eugene III and he was telling Eugene III, the Pope, that you have the duty…  over all unbelievers, whether Jew, Greek, or Gentile. And then he corrected himself.  He said, granted with regard to the Jews, time excuses you.  For them an interment point in time has been fixed which cannot be anticipated. A number of the gentiles must arrive first.  So that the time of the Jews  conversion has not yet come.

We are in the time of the gentiles. And what is the time of the gentiles characteristic of? The gospel has to be preached to all peoples, all times, all places, all ethnic groups. That means that we have to seek to inculturate the gospel. So the gospel has to be presented in all the different languages existing in the face of the earth.  We have to try to present it in all the different cultures that exists in the face of the earth.  And so we seek the inculturation of the gospel.  The Word of God has to meet our culture. And there are many good things about our culture. So when the Word of God comes into a culture, it purifies that culture. It elevates that culture.  Then the culture itself becomes a medium by which the Word of God can be transmitted.  And there is art that comes from that. There is liturgy that comes from that.  And there is music that comes from that.  There’s particular ways of expression that comes from that…

When the gospel becomes deeply inserted in the culture, that culture becomes a blessing for all the rest of the church. .. there is a particular culture the Philippines has as a whole. However, there are different facets and elements of the Philippine culture. So you can think of, for instance, university students. They are a particular culture as it were in the context of this culture. When a university student converts to the gospel, what does he have to do?  He has to remain a university student… he reflects the life of a university student and he has to convert as a university student. And then so he inculturates the gospel as a university student. And he can become a light to the others. Right?

Lay people, especially, are called to be a light of the world and salt of the earth. The church cannot be without them. .. the lay people has a special role to be a light of the world and salt of the earth especially from those places  where only they can arrive. We think of factory workers… they have their own particular culture and own particular way of living out their life. And somebody there who works in the factory is deeply converted, he starts to go to Mass everyday, he starts to pray the rosary, he starts to read the Word of God. And he’s gonna have to clean up his act in some ways. He gonna have to better his life… and then goes back in with the other factory workers and he’s a light for them. He’s inculturing the gospel.  Every family also has their own ways of doing things… so somebody converts within a family, going to Mass everyday, really making good confessions, reflecting on the Word of God, seeking out to live the will of God really fully… that person will become a light for their family. Will transform  certain things within their life in the family and certain things as well have to change.

All of us are called to evangelize in our everyday life. And we have to start doing that by coming into contact with the Spring, the Fountain of eternal salvation. The Eucharist , the Word of God, the sacrament of confession, praying the rosary, listening to the inspirations of God and seek a way to be faithful to that. And as we do that, each one of us is gonna become filled with Christ… will have the light of Christ. And Christ will act through us to bring his message to others. The Holy Spirit will accompany us in seeking to evangelise… The Holy Spirit wants to evangelise. We’re in a time of the gentiles. He wants to go in the entire world. He wants to lead everybody in the world  … if we really want to live a holy life, if we want to evangelise, the Holy Spirit will help us. He will accompany us in this work of evangelising.


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