GATECRASHER

jesus-feetThis homily was delivered on the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 16 June 2013 on Luke 7:13-8:3.

Nobody likes a gatecrasher.

If I were organizing a party, I wouldn’t want anyone who’s not on my guest list to come barging into my party to mingle with the rest of my crowd. And if someone else were throwing a party in my honor, I’d probably feel pretty much the same way . I mean, it’s supposed to be my party, right? So I should be able to choose who gets to join it and who doesn’t. So you see, I wouldn’t exactly be thrilled if a bunch of uninvited and unwelcome guests suddenly showed up at the door—unless maybe they brought pizza, of course! Continue reading GATECRASHER

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ST. BARNABAS, APOSTLE: SON OF ENCOURAGEMENT

saintb12This homily was delivered on 11 June 2013, the Memorial of St. Barnabas, Apostle (Acts 11:21-26; 13:1-13)

I’m embarrassed to admit that if I were asked to list down the names of all the apostles, St. Barnabas would be one of the last ones I’d remember. He’s simply not top-of-mind as far as apostles go. On the one hand, that’s understandable because one automatically thinks first of Simon Peter, Andrew, John, and James–not to mention Paul and even Judas Iscariot (!). But it’s also strange because what we know about St. Barnabas–mostly from the Acts of the Apostles–is so moving. Continue reading ST. BARNABAS, APOSTLE: SON OF ENCOURAGEMENT

LOST LAMBS, SHEPHERDS, PHARISEES

This homily was delivered on 7 June 2013 on the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (Luke 15:3-7)

shepherd-sheep-12 (1)Those of us who are tasked to preach know that there are times when no matter what we do, we can’t find the rhyme and reason for the readings. But thank God often enough, the choice of the readings is nothing less than inspired—as it is today. Continue reading LOST LAMBS, SHEPHERDS, PHARISEES

AS IF (On the Visitation)

This homily was delivered on the Feast of the Visitation 2013 on Luke 1:39-56.

When I first learned to pray the Rosary, I thought the Visitation was no more than that minor second Joyful mystery sandwiched between the two big ones: the Annunciation and the Nativity. But the older I got, and the more I’ve prayed and reflected on the Visitation story, the more I’ve realized that it has a significance and beauty all its own. This morning I read the Gospel passage and noticed a few things. Continue reading AS IF (On the Visitation)

SLAVE MENTALITY

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Note: This homily was delivered on 14 May 2013, during the Feast of St. Matthias (John 15:9-17)

Today’s gospel passage from the Last Supper Discourse is a veritable banquet of quotable quotes, where almost every line is a sound bite. They’re all so familiar, but also all so rich for prayer.

What struck me when I was praying over this passage was the quote on slaves and friends. Our Lord tells his apostles: “I no longer call you slaves; I have called you friends.” He goes on to explain what he means: He confides in us the way most people confide only to their friends, rarely to their servants. Because our Lord loves us, he has offered us this new status: We are no longer slaves, but his friends. And as we know, he takes this even a bit further by himself taking on the role of a slave when he washes the feet of his disciples earlier on. Continue reading SLAVE MENTALITY

LESSONS FROM A FALLEN SOLDIER (30 July 2011)

IgnatiusWoundedThe lives of saints have much to teach us, some saints more than others.  If you grew up in a Jesuit parish like Mary the Queen, maybe St. Ignatius of Loyola has something to teach you.  If you studied in a Jesuit school like Xavier School or Ateneo de Manila, or perhaps Georgetown University, certainly St. Ignatius would have something to say to you.

But even if you’re from La Salle, but went out on some date sometime ago with an Atenean or Xaverian, maybe St. Ignatius still has a message for you on this eve of his feast. Continue reading LESSONS FROM A FALLEN SOLDIER (30 July 2011)

CROSSING LINES OF SEPARATION: Christmas Eve 2010

Today’s Readings
2010 December 25

How would you like to spend Christmas in a trench?  Imagine yourself a soldier fighting a war on Christmas eve.  It’s a bitter cold December night.  You and your fellow soldiers are out there in the snow, in the front lines with your enemies just a few hundred feet away.

Not exactly the best way to spend Christmas! Continue reading CROSSING LINES OF SEPARATION: Christmas Eve 2010

NO STRINGS ATTACHED (Luke 1:57-66) : 23 December 2010 (Thursday of the 4th Week of Advent)

Today’s Readings
2010 December 23

I’ve been trying to figure out this guy Zechariah.  As you probably know, Zechariah was the father of John the Baptist, and the husband of Elizabeth, who happened to be Mary’s cousin. He’s the very first character we meet in the Gospel of St. Luke.

In that opening scene, the angel Gabriel appeared to him in the temple, and Zechariah was told the surprising and wonderful news that his wife Elizabeth was finally pregnant, after enduring years of being called “barren” by their neighbors.

  But then he asked: “How can I be sure of this?”

We’re often told that it was his lack of faith that led the angel to strike him mute so that Zechariah was unable to speak until his son was born. But I wonder if that was the only issue. After all, for a devoted Jew like Zechariah, becoming a parent at a late age wasn’t too far-fetched: think Abraham fathering Isaac. Continue reading NO STRINGS ATTACHED (Luke 1:57-66) : 23 December 2010 (Thursday of the 4th Week of Advent)

KILLJOY (Matthew 3:1-12): 05 December 2010 (2nd Sunday of Advent)

KILLJOY (Matthew 3:1-12):  05 December 2010 (2nd Sunday of Advent)

Today’s Readings

There’s something strange about our Gospel reading today. Did you notice what was wrong with the picture?

We’re supposed to be in the season of Advent, preparing for Christmas. And when we say Christmas, we think of such familiar characters like the angels proclaiming good news, shepherds leaving their flock to check out the baby Jesus, and wise men following stars and bearing gifts. These are feel-good characters and what is Christmas if not the season for feeling good? Continue reading KILLJOY (Matthew 3:1-12): 05 December 2010 (2nd Sunday of Advent)

PRIDE IS JUST THE SYMPTOM (Lk 18:9-14): 24 October 2010 (Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

PRIDE IS JUST THE SYMPTOM (Lk 18:9-14):  24 October 2010 (Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

Today’s Readings

Two people are praying in the temple, but God is hearing very different prayers.  The first, a Pharisee, claims his place–presumably, the “best seat in the house”–as he recites his feel-good prayer; the other, a tax collector, is huddled at the back of the temple.  The Pharisee sounds like he’s thanking God, but if you listen carefully, he’s really just praising himself.  The tax collector, on the other hand, can hardly look up in shame, managing only to beg for mercy.

Our Lord concludes by saying that it is the sinner who leaves the temple justified and talks about the reversals that will befall the proud and the humble:

“For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Continue reading PRIDE IS JUST THE SYMPTOM (Lk 18:9-14): 24 October 2010 (Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time)