pins of light

scattered hints to provoke thought and talk about God

THE WORLD IN YOUR SUITCASE

December 8th, 2016

This homily was delivered on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception to the Ateneo de Manila Junior High School on the 8th of December 2016.

Just when I thought I had seen the best and last of J.K. Rowling, she surprises us with a wonderful prequel to the Harry Potter series called “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” Its protagonist, Newt (played by Eddie Redmayne in the film), is a wizard from England who wields the usual magician’s wand, but also carries a strange suitcase.

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WHAT’S WHEAT AND CHAFF IN YOU?

December 4th, 2016

This homily for the 2nd Sunday of Advent is based on Matthew 3:1-12.

John the Baptist is the kind of friend you would probably not invite to a Christmas party. After all, who wants to hear bad news at a party? We want to be regaled with funny and feel-good anecdotes, not somber reminders of our weaknesses and even threats about our sins. But that’s what John the Baptist does. He tells us not what we want to hear, but what we need to hear.

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FINDING NOAH’S ARK

November 27th, 2016

This homily is based on Matthew 24:37-44 for the First Sunday of Advent.

For many of us these days, despair is a real temptation. Some of us have actually sworn to keep away from our newsfeed and just get ourselves inebriated in premature Christmas carols. Can the news in the country, in the US, and in the world get any worse? And I don’t know about you, but today’s Gospel, which opens the season of Advent, is no help as far as lifting our spirits is concerned.

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THIEVES

November 20th, 2016

This reflection is based on Luke 23:35-43 for the Solemnity of Christ the King.

Since we’ve been on the subject of thieves, the Gospel for the Solemnity of Christ the King appropriately reminds us of that scene in Calvary, where our Lord is crucified between two thieves. But between them lies a world of difference.

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THE WRECKAGE OF HEROES AND PRESIDENTS

November 12th, 2016

This reflection is based on Luke 21:5-19.

I don’t know about you, but for me, this last week has been tough. It’s like just when I wasn’t looking, the rug was pulled out from under me. And not once, but twice!

I’m of course referring to: (a) the disappointing Supreme Court ruling on the Marcos burial–a classic case of cowering behind the letter of the law instead of being faithful to its spirit; and (b) the stunning result of the US presidential election when someone who has been described as a narcissist-bigot-misogynist–all rolled into one–has been voted as the most powerful man in the free world. “A double whammy!” a friend texted from Vancouver.

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THE GOD WHO DANCES

November 6th, 2016

This reflection is based on Luke 20:27-38.

As always, a trick question from his enemies elicits not only a clever answer from Jesus, but also an argument for the afterlife. The Sadducees present the Lord with an unlikely but not implausible scenario: If a woman widowed seven times ends up marrying seven brothers, whose wife will she be at the resurrection?

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WHAT’S YOUR SYCAMORE TREE?

October 30th, 2016

This reflection is based on Luke 19:1-10.

He’s someone some people would–even in this endangered age of political correctness–call “vertically challenged.” There are, of course, every sort of psychological theory that claims how his type tends to over-compensate. But for Zacchaeus, it really was all just a job. Corruption and extortion were an occupational hazard; every other tax collector did it. And why not make the most of it since his own people loathed him anyway? Working for the Romans? Someone’s got to do it, he used to say  to himself. Even if this isn’t really me. Even if I’m way more than this, he used to remind himself until even that voice eventually was never heard from again.

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A COMPARISON OF PRAYERS

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.

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SILENCE IS AN ENDANGERED SPECIES

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.

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BEST BLOG (2016 CATHOLIC MASS MEDIA AWARDS)

October 14th, 2016

Dear online faith community,

“Pins of Light” has been honored as Best Blog by the Catholic Mass Media Awards. Congratulations to all of us! A big thanks to all of you for your support, participation, and inspiration. The biggest thanks, of course, goes to God for His blessings. To Him be all glory and honor!

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Please continue helping us spread God’s Word in this digital universe! :)

Fr. J