October 23rd, 2016
This homily is based on Luke 18:9-14.
In our Gospel reading today, our Lord presents two very different people at prayer: The Pharisee, a law-abiding religious Jew, and the publican, a tax collector who is not only supporting Rome in his work, but is also probably very corrupt.
October 16th, 2016
This reflection is based on Luke 18:1-8.
There was a time in my life when prayer felt like second nature. Whenever I was stuck in traffic, I would simply shut the world out and quietly say my rosary. Not only did I get the chance to pray for people who asked for prayers, but I also got to reconnect with the Lord in all sorts of places. You see, even if as we believe, God’s presence is constant and everywhere, we don’t always get to maintain our sense of that holy presence. But even in jeepney rides, I would be discreetly racing through my beads, praying even for the strangers I was commuting with.
October 14th, 2016
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October 8th, 2016
This homily is based on Luke 17:11-19.
There was probably more than one leper who was grateful for this cure. I imagine all ten were thankful to Jesus for their much-awaited, long prayed-for miracle, one that finally released them not only from the ugly marks of leprosy, but also from the just-as-ugly remarks that society flung their way because of their infectious disease.
The point of the story is not that there was just one grateful leper, but that only one remembered Jesus and felt enough gratitude to him to make a U turn to say, “Thank you!” The others were in too much of a rush to resume a normal life. I think the Lord’s message for me here is that it isn’t enough to feel gratitude; we need to exert the effort to express it. It matters, he seems to be telling us. It makes a difference. So what ought we to do when we are grateful?
October 2nd, 2016
This homily is based on Luke 17:5-10.
Nobody says it, but what our Lord tells us today, taken literally, is–put bluntly–unbelievable. All we need, Jesus tells his disciples, is faith the size of a mustard seed, and we can uproot trees and toss them into the ocean. In Matthew’s version, such a tiny faith is capable of doing something even more incredible: It can move mountains!
September 29th, 2016
Note: This homily was delivered on the Feast of the Archangels during the Fiesta Mass of the Ateneo Grade School on 29 September 2016. You may opt to watch the video first.
Today we celebrate not only the feast of the guardian angels, but also the feast of three archangels: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.
These three are the only angels named in the Bible. Can you tell which is which?
Michael is the warrior archangel, best known for fighting the evil forces, as we heard today.
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.
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.”
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.
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 .
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.”