THE ENDANGERED ART OF LISTENING

This homily is based on 1 Samuel 3:3-19 and John 1:35-42.

In the First Reading today, we have the somewhat charming story of young Samuel who mistakes God’s voice calling to him as coming from his master Eli. After being roused a third time from his sleep, Eli realizes it must be the Lord and directs Samuel to answer, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”

When I googled this line, here’s what I found:

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GIFTS AND GIVERS

This homily is based on Matthew 2:1-12 for the Epiphany of our Lord.

On this Feast of the Epiphany, we remember the visit of the magi–those astrologers (how many they were, we don’t know) who read the stars and were among the first to lay their eyes on Jesus.  They were not exactly kings, but they were certainly wise enough to detect Herod’s schemes and discerning enough to follow the angel’s message to go home some other way.  They are, of course, today credited for the the tradition of gift-giving that has in many ways defined the season of Christmas.  And so today, perhaps it’s good to think about this business of gift-giving.

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“THE BEST IS YET TO COME”

This homily, based on Luke 2:16-21, is for New Year’s Day and the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.

Today, New Year’s Day, there is one line that comes to mind. And I love saying it: “The best is yet to come!”

Yet it’s not always something easy to say–and to believe!

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Not when things aren’t quite right. And especially not when the way the world is turning out isn’t quite to our liking–or the way people behave is, to say the least, bewildering–or to tell it like it is, disheartening. Continue reading “THE BEST IS YET TO COME”

OUT OF BROKEN HOMES AND BROKEN HEARTS

This homily is based on Luke 2:22-40 on the Feast of the Holy Family.

I’m reading Fr. Greg Boyle’s new book, Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship. Like his first book, every single chapter leaves me in tears.

In a Friday, June 4, 2010 photo, Father Gregory Boyle hugs Robert Trejo, a former gang member, in his office at Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles. Organizations trying to prevent youngsters from joining gangs have been hit hard by the sour economy. Homeboy Industries, which employed ex-gang members as a way of keeping them off the street, had to fire more than 300 of its workers as donations and city subsidies plummeted. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
In a Friday, June 4, 2010 photo, Father Gregory Boyle hugs Robert Trejo, a former gang member, in his office at Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles. Organizations trying to prevent youngsters from joining gangs have been hit hard by the sour economy. Homeboy Industries, which employed ex-gang members as a way of keeping them off the street, had to fire more than 300 of its workers as donations and city subsidies plummeted. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

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CHRISTMAS IS COMING HOME

For today, I am sharing this moving homily (based on Luke 2:1-14) delivered by Bro. Robbie Paraan on Christmas Eve Mass at Sacred Heart Parish, Cebu. A blessed Christmas to all!

I saw a viral video the other day about a touching homecoming which happened on an airplane.  Juan Paolo Fermin hasn’t spent Christmas with his family in 17 years. Juan Paolo’s mother—like many Filipino parents—had to leave for abroad when he was 8 years old. Though they would see each other occasionally since then, almost two decades would pass before they could spend Christmas together.

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CROOKED LIVES

This homily is based on Mark 1:1-8 for the Second Sunday of Advent.

A friend of mine wasn’t raving about the film “Smaller and Smaller Circles.” “It’s supposed to be a psychological thriller,” he explained, “but I didn’t even recognize the climax, and it was over!”

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WATCH

This homily , based on Mark 13:33-37, has been written for the First Sunday of Advent, as well as the Feast of St. Francis Xavier (03 December 2017).

Yesterday I found myself wandering through a familiar street in a foreign country. The familiarity was comforting, but it was also wrapped in some sort of nostalgia. You see, I was sauntering through one of the alleys of Taipei’s famous Zhongxiao Dunhua shopping area, and the place felt quite familiar because I had spent two years here, nearly thirty years ago, as a Jesuit scholastic training in media production.

The old Kuangchi Program Service (光啟社) building
The old Kuangchi Program Service (光啟社) building, where I trained in media production.

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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.

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