‘SO WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT THE STO. NINO?’

This homily is for the Feast of Sto Nino

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I’m not exactly a big fan of the Sto. Nino.  When I was a kid, my sister had her own private altar that featured many religious statues and pictures.  You name it, she had it.  It was a virtual nightmare for any born-again Christian.

It had a huge wooden crucifix with a bloody corpus, a small replica of the Black Nazarene of Quiapo, several images of the Blessed Mother—Lourdes, Fatima, Perpetual Help, among other titles—and last but not the least, it had the Sto. Nino in a glass case.  I remember almost all the images elicited a religious feeling in me—all the images, that is, except for the Sto. Nino.
Continue reading ‘SO WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT THE STO. NINO?’

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SO MUCH FOR CHRIST THE KING

This homily was delivered on the Solemnity of Christ the King.

Sculpture of the Homeless Christ (Regis School of Theology, Toronto)
Sculpture of the Homeless Christ (Regis School of Theology, Toronto)

Back in 2004, I visited the Jesuit school for the disabled in Cambodia.  From the moment I stepped out of the airport in Phnom Penh, I noticed that every major road and every other street corner displayed the picture of one man.  My companions informed me that a week before, Cambodia had just crowned a new king, Sihamoni, to succeed his father.  To celebrate the occasion and to show their acceptance of the new king, all of Cambodia put up his pictures everywhere, from medium-sized photographs to gigantic billboards.  As a result, no tourist—and certainly no Cambodian—had any excuse to claim that he does not recognize the new king.

Continue reading SO MUCH FOR CHRIST THE KING

FALLING SHORT OF THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT

This homily is based on Matthew 22:34-40.

Singer/songwriter Howie Day has a couple of great lines in his 2003 hit, “Collide”:

Even the best fall down sometimes.
Even the wrong words seem to rhyme.

Never mind the rest of the song–which, of course, is a love song–but I think those two lines capture something pretty basic in our lives:  Sometimes even the best of us can screw things up! Continue reading FALLING SHORT OF THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT

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

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