1st Sunday of Advent, Cycle A

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Advent means “coming.” Jesus had come 2000 years ago. He came to each one of us at our baptism to make us adopted sons/daughters of our heavenly Father. He comes to each one of us now when we receive him worthily in Holy Communion. He will come for each one of us at the hour of death as judge/savior. In the Liturgy, we celebrate as the people of God the history of our salvation and we begin with the waiting for the historical coming of the Lord in the past, and his coming in glory in the future.

Let us begin by contemplating the situation of the world before the first coming of the Lord. After the sin in Paradise, sin worsened in the murder of Abel, and sin prevailed in the world to such a point that God had to cleanse it through the Flood. Even after the Flood, there was no end to sin, rather sin spread out as mankind was scattered to all parts of the world. God then started a contingency plan by calling Abraham to knowledge of God and his ways. But even among the Israelites there was not complete fidelity to the Lord and his covenant. Only a remnant remained faithful.

Sin reigned up to the time of Jesus was born and even beyond. We know of Bacchanalian orgies in Greece and in parts of the Roman Empire. Worship of idols and gods became occasions for such orgies, gluttony as excessive eating and drinking was common ending up in lust and sexual excesses. We know of how the Roman Empire was riddled with lust, cheating, betrayals and murder within the imperial families. Stealing and banditry existed in the countryside, and abuse of women treating them as chattel, and the stealing of children to be sold into slavery. Marauders would invade peaceful villages to steal their hard earned harvest. In speech, slander and calumny was prevalent, so was betrayal of trust and secrets. False accusation was used to oust another from rank and position. Perjury was done for convenience. Outright blasphemy against God was common, so was cursing of fellowmen. Recall the movies “Alexander the Great”, “The Gladiator” and “Helen of Troy” just to mention the recent movies portraying pagan life; there was no knowledge of the God who gave the Ten Commandments to guide human conduct.

There were human efforts to present good human conduct especially in form of Greek philosophies. The early Greeks taught that a good life was governed by four basic virtues: prudence, or right thinking on moral problems; temperance, or moderation of sensual desires; fortitude, or firmness in facing dangers; and justice, or rightness in giving every person his due. The Stoics taught that the good man lives in accord with nature, tries to be reasonable in all things, and rigorously controls his feelings. The Epicureans also accepted reason and nature as guides for human conduct but emphasized intellectual satisfaction and pleasure as the purpose of a happy life. And yet these philosophies did not become culture to influence popular behavior. Sinful practices and degrading human behavior governed the people. There was need for REDEMPTION. There was need for a SAVIOR.

WHAT OF OUR WORLD TODAY?

Money is the god of our time. Stealing is blatant in every corruption and government cover-up takes deceit and perjury as normal behavior. Blackmail and even murder is resorted to just to save face. (Take the Chong rape and murder case; Hultman murder; Vizconde massacre.) Government officials sell the country to foreign investors to accumulate riches for themselves. It is a shame that government officials steal hundreds of millions by corruption and immediately bring that out of the country to spend for personal enjoyment, while OFWs, the working class, send in the money to improve the lives of Filipinos. Lies in court and deceit in the media are common place. When money in excess is possessed, gluttony in exquisite dining and drinking follow and, like the Bacchanalians, these end up in lust and sexual indulgence. Human trafficking of young women and even boys is practiced to satisfy the lustful. This in turn leads to violence and rape and even to murder. Premarital sex as well as extramarital relations are now considered normal behavior even among so called Catholics. This is so because of the influence of Hollywood movies and our own telenovelas; scriptwriters have changed our views on love, marriage and family life. Unconsciously, the advertisements and commercials influence our taste and choices. In the field of anger, hatred and unforgiveness, there is great abundance. I was greatly shocked when leadership of a prayer community was broken up because of calumny. In another case the unforgiveness by one leader resulted in the division of the community into factions and finally the breaking up of the whole community. Yes, we also need REDEMPTION. We also need the SAVIOR.

The world has its own way of preparing for the coming of the Lord at Christmas every year and we all follow the trend it sets. We put up decorations at home, in the streets, in the stores and malls. In former years, decorations in factories, business buildings and malls portrayed the Nativity scene or “Belen;” but in the recent past, the scene portrayed characters from Hollywood movies including monsters. Christmas movies had centered on Santa Claus and the elves, not on Christ; for example, “The Polar Express” was most entertaining even for adults, but completely void of Christ. The Christmas Carols started as a way of expressing the Christmas story in song; such were the old classic traditional carols. Today the Christmas carols have become love songs and winter songs. They no longer refer to Jesus, Mary or Joseph, angels, magi and shepherds. The world wants to remove Christ from his own birthday, and we simply absorb this mindset. We put up Christmas trees and decorations and pile up gifts in our home without the “Belen.” Shall we follow the world or shall we give our YES to the SAVIOR who calls us this advent season. The Immaculate Conception is the great feast during Advent; Mary was made sinless by God to be the worthy dwelling place for his Son. Jesus is knocking at the door of our hearts for he wants to come to us as the loving mercy of our heavenly Father. The best way to prepare for Christmas is to be like Mary as much as possible. Repentance and conversion ending in a good confession is the answer. Let this Advent be our cleansing season and with Mama Mary let us journey towards Bethlehem.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Fray Hubert Dunstan Decena, OAR

Fray Hubert Dunstan Decena, OAR

Priest/Religious/Bible Professor of the Order of Augustinian Recollects in the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno.

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< 2020 >
August
SMTuWThFS
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  • All day
    August 1, 2020

    BUWAN NG WIKA STARTS

    PARISH FIESTA (31ST FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY) OF OLCP-R, LARAY, TALISAY CITY, CEBU
    5:00 p.m. / Presider & Homilist Archbp. Jose Palma, D.D.

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Gideon Antolin Lagrimas

2
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    August 2, 2020

    ST. JOHN MARIE VIANNEY SUNDAY

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Amada de Ramos, AR

3
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    August 3, 2020

    RST: START OF ENROLMENT

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Jay Parilla
    Sr. Felma Elbanbuena, AR
    Carlos Benedict Rizaga (RAY-Balamban)

4
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    August 4, 2020

    PRAYER INTENTION: FOR OAR VOCATION (cf. LAMP II, 5c)

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Eduardo Celiz, Jr.
    Most Rev. Gerardo Alminaza, D.D. (Diocese of San Carlos)
    Sr. Felisa Costonera, AR
    Sr. Eleuteria Lao, AR
    Sr. Yvette Galabo, AR

    ANNIVERSARY OF EPISCOPAL ORDINATION
    Most Rev. Gerardo Alminaza, D.D. (Diocese of San Carlos)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Zenaida Ty, AR

5
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    August 5, 2020

    BIRTHDAY

    Fray Mark Ryan Prado

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    (2007-2020)
    +Fray Oscar de la Rosa

6
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    August 6, 2020

    TRANSFIGURATION OF THE LORD

    CHARTER DAY OF CEBU PROVINCE

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Consuelo de San Agustin, AR

7
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    August 7, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Ma. Concepcion Reston, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Concepcion Balin, AR

8
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    August 8, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Chrislean Rey Pamilaga (novice)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY:
    +Sr. Regina Bianes, AR

9
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    August 9, 2020

    WORLD DAY OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES (cf. LAMP 52)

    BIRTHDAY
    Mayenne Flores (RAY-Baguio)

10
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    August 10, 2020

    START OF NOVENA TO ST. EZEKIEL MORENO

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Yolanda Navea, AR
    Sr. Myrna Arcegono, AR
    Daniela Barong (RAY-Tambo)

1112
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    August 12, 2020

    3RD ANNIVERSARY OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE QUASI PARISH OF N.S. DEL CARMEN IN HINATUAN, SURIGAO DEL SUR

    REPORTING OF “OLDPHYTE” SEMINARIANS IN CARES, BAGUIO

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    August 14, 2020

    REPORTING OF “NEOPHYTE” SEMINARIANS IN CARES, BAGUIO

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    August 15, 2020

    SOLEMNITY OF THE ASSUMPTION OF MARY

    ANNIVERSARY OF SOLEMN PROFESSION
    Mo. Ma. del Carmen, OAR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Mamerta de San Agustin AR

16
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    August 16, 2020

    PATRONAL FIESTA OF SAN ROQUE PARISH
    Saipan, CNMI
    Time: 9:00 A.M. (Saipan Time) Presider: Most Rev. Ryan Jimenez, D.D.

    PATRONAL FIESTA MASS @ St. Ezekiel Moreno Church,
    Fanhua, Zhangzhi Township, Pingtung County (Diocese of Kaohsiung), Taiwan Time: 10:00 A.M.
    Presider: Fray Nimrod Launio

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    (1980-2020)
    Fray Constantino Real

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Ma. Adoracion Bonto, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Tomasa de San Jose, AR
    +Sr. Ma. Leonila Pesado, AR

17
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    August 17, 2020

    ST. CLARE OF MONTEFALCO

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Mashyll Entac, AR

18
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    August 18, 2020

    ANNIVERSARY OF SOLEMN PROFESSION OF A RELIGIOUS BROTHER
    (2001-2020)
    Fray Raymund Alcedo

19
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    August 19, 2020

    PRAYER INTENTION: FOR THE SICK (cf. LAMP II, 5c) SOLEMNITY OF ST. EZEKIEL MORENO
    Be reminded of the plenary indulgence we may obtain today!

    PATRONAL FIESTA MASS OF THE ST. EZEKIEL MORENO QUASI- PARISH, CAIDIOCAN, VALENCIA, NEGROS ORIENTAL
    Time: 10:00 A.M.
    Presider: Fray Jay Parilla

    PATRONAL FIESTA MASS @ St. Ezekiel Moreno Monastery
    25TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BLESSING AND INAUGURATION OF THE CHAPEL AND MONASTERY (Bacolod City)
    Time: 8:00 A.M.
    Presider: Most Rev. Vicente Navarra, D.D.

    FIESTA MASS IN HONOR OF ST. EZEKIEL MORENO
    @ San Roque Parish, Saipan, CNMI Time: 6:00 A.M. (Saipan Time)

    PATRONAL FIESTA MASS @ SNTP Church (Quezon City) Time: 6:00 P.M.
    (Presider: —to be communicated later)

    PATRONAL FIESTA MASS @ St. Ezekiel Moreno Chapel (near Balon-Pari), Inagawan, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan (Time & Presider: —to be communicated later)

    PATRONAL FIESTA MASS @ SEMONORE (Antipolo City) (Time & Presider: —to be communicated later)

    2ND ANNIVERSARY OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF RECOLETOS DE BALAMBAN COMMUNITY

    START OF THE NOVENA TO ST. AUGUSTINE

    QUEZON CITY DAY

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (2002-2020)
    Fray Louie Gabinete
    Fray Jerome Virtudazo

    (2007-2020)
    Fray Ian Anthony Espartero
    Fray Allan Jacinto

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    Sr. Ma. Quiteria Ragundiaz, OAR

20
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    August 20, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Judd Galinato (simply prof.)

21
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    August 21, 2020

    ST. POPE PIUS X

    NINOY AQUINO DAY

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    Archbp. Jose Palma, D.D. (Archdiocese of Cebu)

22
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    August 22, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Leander Barrot Fray
    Paul Demillones

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Fray Lino Agunod (2007-2020)
    +Sr. Ma. Fe Luna, AR
    +Sr. Matilde del Rosario, AR

23
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    August 23, 2020

    PATRONAL FIESTA OF ST. AUGUSTINE PARISH
    Linyuan, Kaohsiung
    Time: 3:00 P.M.
    Presider: Fray Corvin Maturan

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Ma. Benecia Olaño, AR
    Sr. Gecel Polestico, AR

24
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    August 24, 2020

    EPISCOPAL ORDINATION OF AUXILIARY BISHOP-ELECT MOISES CUEVAS (Diocese of Zamboanga)

    START OF REGULAR CLASSES IN RECOLETOS SCHOOLS

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    (1963-2020)
    Fray Emeterio Buñao
    Fray Dunstan Hubert Decena

25
  • All day
    August 25, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Angelika Perez (RAY-Urbiztondo)

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1991-2020)
    Fray Eduardo Celiz, Jr.
    Fray Carmelo Borces
    Fray Leopoldo Estioko
    Fray Gaudencio Geronimo de Mesa
    Fray Nemesio Tolentin

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Veronica de los Santos, AR
    +Sr. Andrea Cabunilas, AR

26
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    August 26, 2020

    PATRONAL FIESTA OF THE ST. AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO QUASI PARISH- RECOLETOS, Inayawan, Cebu City
    (Time & Presider: —to be communicated later)

    BIRTHDAY
    Mikaela Loraine Toro (RAY-Valencia)

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    (1967-2020)
    Fray Rafael Cabarles

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Afra Medillo, AR

27
  • All day
    August 27, 2020

    FEAST OF ST. MONICA
    Be reminded of the plenary indulgence we may obtain today!

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Ma. Genoveva de Asis, AR
    Judy Ann Mediavillo (RAY-Provincialate)

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (2009-2020)
    Fray Bob Cabanag

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Felicidad de Sto. Niño, AR
    +Sr. Geronima Ruiz, AR

28
  • All day
    August 28, 2020

    PRAYER INTENTION: FOR THE OAR MISSION (cf. LAMP II, 5c) SOLEMNITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE
    Be reminded of the plenary indulgence we may obtain today!

    25TH FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY OF THE RECOLLECT AUGUSTINIAN YOUTH

    INSTALLATION OF MOST REV. JOSE CABANTAN AS ARCHBISHOP OF CAGAYAN DE ORO

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Agustin Culaton

    ANNIVERSARY OF SOLEMN PROFESSION
    Sr. Ma. Quiteria Ragundiaz, OAR

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1988-2020)
    Fray Raul Buhay

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Mo. Monica de San Joaquin, AR

29
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    August 29, 2020

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    Mo. Lourdes Eizaguirre, OAR

30
  • All day
    August 30, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Shiela Flores (RAY-Provincialate)

    ANNIVERSARY OF SOLEMN PROFESSION
    Sr. Mo. Lourdes Eizaguirre, OAR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Consuelo Dangan, AR

31
  • All day
    August 31, 2020

    NATIONAL HEROES’ DAY

     

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