pins of light

scattered hints to provoke thought and talk about God

A SUNDAY GHOST STORY

September 25th, 2016

This homily is based on Luke 16:19-31.

There’s something curious about today’s parable of the rich man and Lazarus. If you read it literally, its message would seem to say: If you’re rich and comfortable in this life, you’ll be tormented in the next, as in the case of the rich man. On the other hand, if like Lazarus, you’re poor and miserable here and now, you’ll be comforted in the next life.

 

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In fact, Abraham’s words to the rich man seem exactly to imply this: “You received what was good in your lifetime and Lazarus received what was bad; but now he is comforted here whereas you’re tormented.”

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ARE YOU LEADING A DOUBLE LIFE?

September 18th, 2016

This reflection is based on Luke 16:10-13.

Today’s Gospel warns us against leading a double life. We’re accustomed to the term “double life” as referring to people with secret lives: The nerdy newspaper photographer with the alter ego and superhero costume underneath his shirt; the well-respected public servant engaged in an extra-marital affair; the closeted anti-gay activist; or the beautiful celebrity who is secretly plagued by a deep and destructive addiction.

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THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY

September 11th, 2016

This homily is based on Luke 15:1-32.

Today’s Gospel is about the one that got away.

We all have such a person in our life: Somebody we used to care for deeply, someone somehow entrusted once to our care, someone who inhabited our universe once upon a time and–for just that brief fairy tale moment–made all the difference .

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HATE

September 4th, 2016

This reflection is based on Luke 14:25-33 on the day of the canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

In today’s Gospel the Lord Jesus utters a word that we don’t expect to hear from him: “Hate.”

He tells us, “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”

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SELF-DETHRONEMENT: HUMILITY AGAIN

August 27th, 2016

This homily, based on Luke 4:1-14, was delivered in the Oratory of St. Francis Xavier on the Xavier School Nuvali campus. 

The Gospel message of the Lord Jesus struck me pretty loud and clear. Today he tells us: “Dethrone yourself!” He sends this invitation to us all because just like the wedding guests in his parable, even the most introverted among us wouldn’t mind getting a seat of honor. It’s simply in our DNA; we all have a need for honor and social approval. The only problem is, sometimes we get carried away, and honor and social approval become addictive drugs, and we can’t get enough of them!

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IS THERE A BACKDOOR TO HEAVEN?

August 20th, 2016

This reflection is based on Luke 13:22-30.

There’s something paradoxical about the Gospel reading today. On the one hand, we’re encouraged to “strive to enter through the narrow gate,” but that not all will succeed and many of us will, in fact, have the door of the kingdom shut before our very faces. In almost the same breath, however, we are told that people from every possible direction will “recline at the table of the kingdom of God.” It sounds suspiciously like there’s another access to the kingdom that isn’t as narrow and selective as the front door!

So, what’s going on here? Either the Lord has, in spite of himself, gotten self-contradictory here, or heaven simply has a blatant set of double standards. Is there actually a wide-open backdoor to heaven?

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DO YOU HAVE AN ATENEO BLUE EGO?

August 16th, 2016

This homily was delivered at the Mass of the Holy Spirit at the Church of the Gesu.

You may have heard this riddle before…

Suppose you decided to have an intimate little birthday party. You invite exactly four guests: (a) your best friend, (b) a humble Atenean, (c) a poor La Sallite, and (d) a UP student who graduated on time.

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Suddenly the lights go out and when it goes on again, your cake is missing. The million-dollar question is: “Who took your cake?”

ON FIRE

August 13th, 2016

This reflection, based on Luke 12:49-53, is a collaboration John, a childhood friend who offered to help when he found out I was down with the flu.

Have you ever gone somewhere where you had to get something done, but there was a line ahead of you and the people in-charge were moving much too slowly? Didn’t you feel like lighting a fire under them to ignite them and get them moving?

That’s how Jesus must have felt. That’s why in today’s Gospel he gives us a line that you wouldn’t exactly expect from the Lord: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!”

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RUDE AWAKENING

August 6th, 2016

This reflection is based on Luke 12:35-40.

I’ve been obsessed with sleep lately.

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It all started when I flunked my sleep test two years ago and was diagnosed with a common sleeping disorder called apnea. Apparently, like a lot of people, my breathing would stop for a few seconds during my sleep–except that in my case, it happened too often. No wonder I always woke up fatigued–a strange phenomenon for a morning person like me who’s most productive in the morning and usually brain-dead by 8 pm.

IGNACIO DE LOYOLA, BUILDER OF BRIDGES

July 30th, 2016

This reflection is based on Luke 12:13-21 for the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

What will you build in your life?

That’s the question that our simple but profound parable in today’s Gospel asks us. It’s also the perfect question on the day we honor the saint who spent his life wrestling with that question. In a sense, everything in our life boils down to this one question.

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For one, we could choose to spend our lives building barns as the man in the parable does. He decides to store all his riches exclusively for himself so that he can enjoy them all for many years–to “rest, eat, drink, and be merry.” But as fate would have it, the very night he completes the last of his barns, he dies, leaving his hoard behind.