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

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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)

#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

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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?