THE FURTHER

This homily was delivered on 16 September 2013 based on Luke 7:1-10

The Centurion's Servant 1914 by Sir Stanley Spencer 1891-1959I made the mistake the other night of watching a horror film. It was “Insidious (Part 1). ” As I expected, after the movie, my imagination ran wild every time I found myself in a long corridor or dark corner.  The movie is about the souls of the dead who are desperately waiting to occupy the bodies of the living, and in the movie, they’re depicted as wandering lost in this heaven-forsaken dimension which the psychic in the film mysteriously calls the “Further.” Continue reading THE FURTHER

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WAILING AND WHINING

moses-in-desertThis homily, based on Numbers 11:4-5 and Matthew 14:13-21, was delivered on 05 August 2013.

Our First Reading is all about wailing and whining. First, we have the Israelites, fresh from their escape from Egypt, wailing and whining about their menu in the desert. “If only we had meat to eat!” they cried out, reciting a litany of the food they missed and singing the praises of Egyptian cuisine. Of course they grew sick of their daily diet of heaven-sent manna, which, we’re told by the way, tasted like “cakes baked with oil.”

But that’s not all: Even their prophet Moses, hearing their complaints, joined the bandwagon and did his own wailing and whining too, complaining to God about how the people burdened him so much. “I’m not their mother!” he basically told God. And he must have felt really bad because he ended by declaring: “If this is the way you are going to treat me, put me to death at once!” Continue reading WAILING AND WHINING

GOD WITH SKIN ON (The Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola)

ignThis homily, based on Exodus 34:29-35 and Matthew 13:44-46, was delivered on the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola (July 31, 2013).

In today’s Gospel, our Lord likens the Kingdom of God to a hidden treasure and a pearl so valuable that it should make all the difference in one’s life. These two parables remind me of one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from St. Ignatius of Loyola, whose feast we celebrate today. This lesson is captured in a slogan that he’s known for: “Finding God in all things.”

I know, today it sounds almost like a cliché: We all believe God is present everywhere, don’t we? But we should note that Ignatius’ invitation is not simply to believe that God in all things, but to find Him and actually look for Him in all things. It’s like our Lord’s parables today telling us not just to believe that the Kingdom of God is here, but also to go and search for it, be it buried in some field or hidden in the deep seas. Continue reading GOD WITH SKIN ON (The Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola)

WHAT IT TAKES TO TURN ASIDE

burningbush-smThis homily was delivered on 17 July 2013 based on the readings for the day (Exodus 3:1-6, 9-12 and Matthew 11:25-27)

I think I had my first religious experience at the age of ten, and it came courtesy of Moses–or more precisely, Charlton Heston in the Cecil de Mille movie “The Ten Commandments.” I still remember the film’s most dramatic scene: Moses, towering over the Israelites, faces the Red Sea, spreads his arms before it, and as the most rousing soundtrack blares, the sky rushes into the waters and before you know it, the waters part, forming a wall on each side and a virtual highway for the fleeing Israelites. Remember this was before the era of Computer Generated Images. Continue reading WHAT IT TAKES TO TURN ASIDE

GRIT

This homily was delivered at the Grade 8 Thanksgiving Mass on 20 March 2013.

Grade 8This is my third graduation homily in a row, so I’m in serious danger of boring myself, so I thought I’d start today by playing a little game with all of you. It’s called “Stand if it’s you. Sit if it’s not.” In other words: If the statement applies to you, stand up. If it doesn’t, remain seated. Continue reading GRIT

PLUCK + GRIT+ HEART

This homily was delivered at the Thanksgiving Mass for the Grade 7 students on 19 March 2013.

pgh joseph

St. Joseph, whose feast we celebrate today, was a man of few words. For such an important person, we have no idea what he actually said. He left no writing, and the two gospel authors who mention him–Matthew and Luke–do not quote him at all.  As a result, we know very little about him besides his trade, his family tree, and of course, his relationship to Mary and Jesus.

But if we ever found ourselves in the situations he found himself in, I think we would have more than a mouthful! Just think:

He found Mary to be with child, and he was sure the child did not belong to him. And then an angel asked him in a dream to marry her anyway. When they went to Bethlehem and it was time for Mary to give birth to the so-called Son of the Most High, they couldn’t even find any decent room! Continue reading PLUCK + GRIT+ HEART

#LifeAfterXS

This homily was delivered at the High School Graduation Mass for XS 2013 on 18 March 2013.

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For the past twelve years, each time I deliver the homily during a Graduation Mass, I have always secretly felt like an unofficial graduation speaker because when you think about it, the homily is really my last chance as the School Director to address the seniors and to give them some parting words of wisdom before we send them off to the world. Continue reading #LifeAfterXS

CONNECTION AND COMPASSION: KEY TO FORGIVENESS

adult

This homily was delivered at Mary the Queen on 17 March 2013.

Everyone loves a trick question, and today’s gospel reading is one: a trick question that’s also a trap. The scribes and Pharisees think they’ve come up with the perfect trap for the Lord. They drag a woman out into the public square and present to him a dilemma: This woman has been caught in adultery. According to the law of Moses, she should be stoned. What to do? Continue reading CONNECTION AND COMPASSION: KEY TO FORGIVENESS

AGAINST THE WIND: BLESSING OF THE XAVIER ROCK

The Oratory of St. Francis Xavier before the blessing (Photo by Karol Yee)This homily was delivered at the blessing of the Oratory of St. Francis Xavier on 09 March 2013 in Xavier School Nuvali built in memory of John Gokongwei Sr. and Juanita Marquez-Lim Gokongwei.

We’ve never had a chapel before. I mean in all its 57 years of existence, Xavier School has never had a full-blown school chapel. Neither of our first two campuses–not the first one in Echague nor the one in San Juan–had the benefit of an entirely separate structure just to house a chapel. But today, thanks to our benefactors, we finally have an oratory for the very first time in the history of Xavier School, here in Nuvali. Continue reading AGAINST THE WIND: BLESSING OF THE XAVIER ROCK

THE CRAZY STRANGER WITH THE CRAZY PLAN

67047_10151270308972026_1097482084_nThis homily was delivered at the XS Days with the Lord Grand Mass on 06 March 2013.

I caught the film, “Argo,” on the plane. As you may know, this film, starring and directed by Ben Affleck, bagged the Best Picture at the Oscars this year. In it Affleck plays a CIA agent named Tony Mendez, and he goes on a mission to Iran to save six American citizens.

On November 4, 1979, militants captured the US Embassy in Tehran and held more than 50 of its personnel hostage. Unknown to them, six escaped from the US Embassy raid. In the film, they are hiding in the house of the Canadian ambassador, their future uncertain, but at least safe for the moment–that is, until the Iranian intelligence learns about their whereabouts. Continue reading THE CRAZY STRANGER WITH THE CRAZY PLAN