#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

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CONNECTION AND COMPASSION: KEY TO FORGIVENESS

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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

WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF?

This homily was delivered at the Spring Festival Mass in Xavier School last 08 February 2013.

In the Gospel, our Lord tells us not to worry, not to be afraid. So this morning, let me ask you: What are you most afraid of?  你 最 怕 什么?Here are pictures of some of the deadliest animals. I’m sure you recognize them.

Continue reading WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF?

IN DEEP

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Note: This homily was delivered at the First Saturday Mass in Xavier School on 12 January 2013.

I’d like to begin by telling you a funny and embarrassing story which–unfortunately–is also a true story. In fact, it happened to me. A few years ago I had just attended a board meeting of one of the universities in Metro Manila, and after the meeting, we decided to go off for dinner. As we were walking out into the patio, a board member insisted on giving me his cell phone number. And that was it: The last thing I remember was keying in the information onto my phone, and before I knew it, I heard a loud splash, and when I looked around me, I couldn’t. I had to look up to see everyone else looking down at me with absolute shock on their faces. Continue reading IN DEEP

CHRISTMAS HATERS AND LOVERS

This homily was delivered on the 24th of December 2012 at the Midnight Mass in the Grade School Quadrangle in Xavier School.

I suspect we all harbor some secret questions about Christmas–questions we’ve always wanted to ask about this special season, but for some reason, never got around to asking anyone. When you think about it, there are, after all, some unsolved mysteries and unanswered questions about Christmas–mysteries and questions that only the grimmest Grinch and the most persistent party-pooper among us dare to ask .

Continue reading CHRISTMAS HATERS AND LOVERS

NAUGHTY OR NICE

This homily was delivered on the fourth Novena Mass in Xavier School 2012.

And so, we have just about 7 days to go before Christmas Day. But even more immediate than that, if we are to believe the Internet, we have only 3 days to go before the end of the world as we know it. By now, you may have heard of the so-called “2012 Phenomenon” where the world is predicted to end cataclysmically on December 21, 2012–that’s this year, that’s this month, that’s three days from now! You see, December 21, 2012 happens to be the end-date of a 5,125-year-long cycle used in the ancient Mayan calendar. Even if numerous Mayan scholars have repeatedly insisted that this has nothing to do with doomsday predictions, this date from the Mayan calendar has, typical of the internet, generated both mass hysteria and all sorts of wild hypotheses of how exactly the end of the world will transpire.

Continue reading NAUGHTY OR NICE

NEEDS, NOT WANTS

This homily was delivered at Mary the Queen Parish for the first of the Christmas Novena Masses on 15 December 2012.

I think it would have been great if for this very first Simbang Gabi, the Gospel talked about Mary and Joseph, or the angels, or the shepherds–or even the drummer boy! But instead of any of the traditional and romantic Christmas characters, who do we get instead in this evening’s gospel reading? John the Baptist! Continue reading NEEDS, NOT WANTS

FOR FATHER ZULO (November 1927 – October 2012)

This funeral homily was delivered in Xavier School for Fr. Ismael Zuloaga SJ on 11 October 2011.

It’s not going to be easy to talk about the life of Fr. Ismael Zuloaga. The reason is: He didn’t just have one life; he had several. To those who knew of him–and especially to those of us who knew him personally, Fr Zuloaga was—there’s no other way of putting it—“larger than life.” By every possible account, his life was equivalent to much more than one; his works and accomplishments were really worth several lifetimes.

Continue reading FOR FATHER ZULO (November 1927 – October 2012)