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)

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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

NO STRINGS ATTACHED (Luke 1:57-66) : 23 December 2010 (Thursday of the 4th Week of Advent)

Today’s Readings
2010 December 23

I’ve been trying to figure out this guy Zechariah.  As you probably know, Zechariah was the father of John the Baptist, and the husband of Elizabeth, who happened to be Mary’s cousin. He’s the very first character we meet in the Gospel of St. Luke.

In that opening scene, the angel Gabriel appeared to him in the temple, and Zechariah was told the surprising and wonderful news that his wife Elizabeth was finally pregnant, after enduring years of being called “barren” by their neighbors.

  But then he asked: “How can I be sure of this?”

We’re often told that it was his lack of faith that led the angel to strike him mute so that Zechariah was unable to speak until his son was born. But I wonder if that was the only issue. After all, for a devoted Jew like Zechariah, becoming a parent at a late age wasn’t too far-fetched: think Abraham fathering Isaac. Continue reading NO STRINGS ATTACHED (Luke 1:57-66) : 23 December 2010 (Thursday of the 4th Week of Advent)

KILLJOY (Matthew 3:1-12): 05 December 2010 (2nd Sunday of Advent)

KILLJOY (Matthew 3:1-12):  05 December 2010 (2nd Sunday of Advent)

Today’s Readings

There’s something strange about our Gospel reading today. Did you notice what was wrong with the picture?

We’re supposed to be in the season of Advent, preparing for Christmas. And when we say Christmas, we think of such familiar characters like the angels proclaiming good news, shepherds leaving their flock to check out the baby Jesus, and wise men following stars and bearing gifts. These are feel-good characters and what is Christmas if not the season for feeling good? Continue reading KILLJOY (Matthew 3:1-12): 05 December 2010 (2nd Sunday of Advent)

PRIDE IS JUST THE SYMPTOM (Lk 18:9-14): 24 October 2010 (Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

PRIDE IS JUST THE SYMPTOM (Lk 18:9-14):  24 October 2010 (Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

Today’s Readings

Two people are praying in the temple, but God is hearing very different prayers.  The first, a Pharisee, claims his place–presumably, the “best seat in the house”–as he recites his feel-good prayer; the other, a tax collector, is huddled at the back of the temple.  The Pharisee sounds like he’s thanking God, but if you listen carefully, he’s really just praising himself.  The tax collector, on the other hand, can hardly look up in shame, managing only to beg for mercy.

Our Lord concludes by saying that it is the sinner who leaves the temple justified and talks about the reversals that will befall the proud and the humble:

“For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Continue reading PRIDE IS JUST THE SYMPTOM (Lk 18:9-14): 24 October 2010 (Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

BRAGGING RIGHTS (Mark 9:30-37): 20 September 2009 (Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

BRAGGING RIGHTS (Mark 9:30-37): 20 September 2009 (Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

Today’s Readings

Dear Lord,

In the more secular world of the Internet, everyone seems to be talking about what happened at last Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards.

Country singer Taylor Swift had just won Best Female Video, and the nineteen-year old singer was really overjoyed because it was her first time to win the award.  In the middle of her speech, hip hop singer, Kanye West, stormed the stage, grabbed her mike, interrupting her speech, and announced something like: “I’m happy for you, Taylor, but I think Beyonce’s video is the best!”  Kanye was booed and got off the stage, while poor Taylor, unable to complete her speech, was led away, still looking stunned. Continue reading BRAGGING RIGHTS (Mark 9:30-37): 20 September 2009 (Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

OUT OF MY DEPTHS (Mark 8:27-35): 13 September 2009 (Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

OUT OF MY DEPTHS (Mark 8:27-35):  13 September 2009 (Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

Today’s Readings

Dear Lord,

Today’s Gospel story reminds me of what happened to me last May, when I was in Rome for a meeting.  Thanks to a Filipino Jesuit friend, Fr. Joe Quilongquilong, I got to join the Scavi Tour, touted as one of the hottest tickets in Rome.  Continue reading OUT OF MY DEPTHS (Mark 8:27-35): 13 September 2009 (Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

TURNING THE TABLE ON GOD (Mark 7:31-37): Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (06 September 2009)

TURNING THE TABLE ON GOD (Mark 7:31-37):  Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (06 September 2009)

Today’s Readings

Dearest Lord,

I’ve been thinking about Cristy these days.  I don’t think I will ever forget what I saw when I visited her the other day in the hospital.  I’ve been warned about her, but I was shocked anyway.  She wasn’t at all the Cristy I knew.  Her cancer had ravaged her body:  All skin and bones, she stared at me with one eye, the other forced shut by the growing tumor in her brain.   Continue reading TURNING THE TABLE ON GOD (Mark 7:31-37): Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (06 September 2009)

FARAWAY HEARTS (Mk 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23): 30 August 2009 (Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time)

FARAWAY HEARTS (Mk 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23):  30 August 2009 (Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time)

Today’s Readings

Dear Lord,

Today you quote the prophet Isaiah as you complain about the Pharisees:

This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.

But for all we know, you could be complaining about us.  For all I know, you could be complaining about me.  You say you dislike mere lip service because you want nothing less than our hearts.  When I hear your words, I can’t help but recall my faraway heart. Continue reading FARAWAY HEARTS (Mk 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23): 30 August 2009 (Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time)

DETOURS (John 6:60-69): 23 August 2009 (Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time)

DETOURS (John 6:60-69): 23 August 2009 (Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time)

Today’s Readings

Dearest Lord Jesus,

It was a heartbreaking scene–that moment when you turned to your disciples after watching all the others go.  “Do you also want to leave?” you asked them, perhaps not without some fear. Continue reading DETOURS (John 6:60-69): 23 August 2009 (Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time)