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!
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?
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.
Suddenly the lights go out and when it goes on again, your cake is missing. The million-dollar question is: “Who took your cake?”
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!”
August 6th, 2016
This reflection is based on Luke 12:35-40.
I’ve been obsessed with sleep lately.
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.
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.
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.
July 24th, 2016
This reflection is based on Luke 11:1-13.
This Sunday’s Gospel has much to teach us about prayer, but it’s our Lord’s explanation of his parable of the desperate friend that struck me:
“Knock and the door will be opened to you…
What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven
give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”
July 17th, 2016
This homily, based on Genesis 18:1-10a and Luke 10:38-42, is for the Church of the Gesu, Ateneo de Manila University.
We’re all familiar with the story of Martha and Mary–not only because we’ve heard this Gospel story before, but also because most of us have wrestled with the issue it raises in our own lives.
Martha is frantic in the kitchen, concocting whatever she could to serve their special guest and friend, Jesus, who, because he’s very close to them, has probably shown up unannounced. She’s doing what she must, but her dear sister Mary isn’t. Needing help, Martha calls for Mary, but gets no answer. She peers through the smoke rising from the stove, and of course, there is Mary, sitting idly at the feet of Jesus, a special captive audience of one. If this had happened today, Mary probably would have already posted a couple of selfies with their celebrity guest on Instagram.
July 10th, 2016
This homily, based on Luke 10:25-37, was delivered at the Montserrat Religious Formation Center in Silang, Cavite during the closing Mass of the Workshop on Ignatian School Leadership.
We’ve all heard the Parable of the Good Samaritan before, and of course, its message is loud, clear, and–given all that’s going on in our world today–timely: Just like the Good Samaritan, we are each called to help those in great need–even and especially strangers, those of a different race, region, or religion.
July 2nd, 2016
This homily, based on Luke 10:1-9, was delivered at the Oratory of St. Francis Xavier, Xavier School Nuvali.
What struck me today about our Lord’s words to his 72 disciples is that he’s “telling it like it is.” He wants to make sure he’s sending them off wide-eyed. He gives them clear warning of exactly what they’re up against: Not only will the work be too much and they, the laborers, too few, but they are also certain to encounter hostility–like lamb sent among wolves–as well as experience rejection from the households they will visit.
But despite these warnings, our Lord’s overriding message to his disciples is: “Just do it anyway!”