COUNTING LOOSE CHANGE (Mt 20:1-16a): 21 September 2008 (Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Last night I got stuck in Metro Manila traffic and noticed that for some reason, there seemed to be more beggars and street children than usual. Several beggars later, after giving the car window the customary taps to send them away, I wondered about the last time that I had actually given alms to a beggar. I couldn’t remember when. When I asked myself why, I realized it was because I usually didn’t carry coins in my pocket. Then it struck me: Why do I help only when I have loose change to spare? Continue reading COUNTING LOOSE CHANGE (Mt 20:1-16a): 21 September 2008 (Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time)
KEEPING A LOW PROFILE (Jn 3:13-17): 14 September 2008 (Feast of the Triumph of the Cross)
Pieter Brueghel’s “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus” depicts the well-known story of a young boy who dons his manmade wings and, against the instruction of his inventor-father, flies too high and too close to the sun. The result? As expected, the heat of the sun melts the wax holding his wings together, and the reckless boy falls to his death. Continue reading KEEPING A LOW PROFILE (Jn 3:13-17): 14 September 2008 (Feast of the Triumph of the Cross)
GATHERING IN HIS NAME (Mt 18:15-20): 07 September 2008 (Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time)
A controversial short film by Mexican director, Alonso Álvarez Barreda, won this year’s Cannes Film Festival’s online short film competition. Approximately five minutes long, the short film, “Historia de un Letrero” (or “Story of a Sign”), tells the story of a blind beggar sitting in a park with a sign that says, “Have pity! I’m a blind man.” Continue reading GATHERING IN HIS NAME (Mt 18:15-20): 07 September 2008 (Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time)
A few years ago, I watched a film called “The Exorcism of Emily Rose.” I expected a full-blown horror movie in the tradition of other Exorcist movies, complete with all the scary special effects like 360-degree head turns, shaking beds, and lots of vomiting. Instead, to my disappointment, with the exception of a few scenes, the movie wasn’t all that scary. It wasn’t even really a horror movie, strictly speaking, since the scary parts were relegated to flashback scenes. To my surprise—but pleasant surprise—the film turned out to be a religious movie in disguise; in fact, it turned out to be a deeply moving and spiritual experience. Continue reading GETTING BEHIND SATAN (Matthew 16:21-27): 31 August 2008 (Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time)
DEFINING OURSELVES (Mt 16:13-20): Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time (24 August 2008)
The other day a friend sent me a link to a site called “Yearbook Yourself!
” The moment I got to the site, an animated yearbook appeared before me and began to flip its pages. I was instructed to upload a photo, and once I had done that, a series of years appeared below my picture. It turned out that selecting a year would adapt your picture for that year: You would be furnished the haircut for the era as the appropriate music played in the background. I went through the years and watched myself change, looking strangely cleancut in the 60’s and sporting a ridiculous afro in the 70’s, among others. It was fun, for whatever it was worth. Continue reading DEFINING OURSELVES (Mt 16:13-20): Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time (24 August 2008)
SHOWING SOME DESPERATION (Mt 15:21-28): 17 August 2008 (Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time)
A line from an 80’s song started playing in my head as I was thinking about this Sunday’s gospel. It goes: “She calls out to the man on the street: ‘Sir, can you help me?'”
The line is, of course, from Phil Collin’s no. 1 single, “Another Day in Paradise” back in 1989. The song, which won the Grammy Record of the Year that year, was written to call attention to the plight not only of the homeless in the US, but also of refugees all over the world. Continue reading SHOWING SOME DESPERATION (Mt 15:21-28): 17 August 2008 (Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time)
“CAN YOU STILL MY STORM?” (Mt 14:22-33): 10 August 2008 (Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Today’s gospel reading is easy to relate to. We know about storms, don’t we? Many of us have experienced storms in our lives, both storms caused by nature as well as those encountered in life in general.
I remember one particularly powerful and frightening storm from my childhood. The name of the storm was Typhoon Yoling, and although I don’t recall the precise storm signal that was raised, I still remember looking out our window and watching with disbelief street signs and roofs flying in the air, uprooted by the howling wind. That typhoon was one of the most powerful I’ve experienced in my life. Continue reading “CAN YOU STILL MY STORM?” (Mt 14:22-33): 10 August 2008 (Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time)
One of the few TV programs I make sure to follow is “Heroes.” As its viewers know, it’s about a strange bunch of reluctant superheroes: young and ordinary people who accidentally discover their extraordinary abilities.
Among them is Hiro Nakamura, a Japanese office worker who has a boring routinary 9-to-5 job. Like the other heroes, he learns about his special gifts by trial and error. He discovers that he can stop and manipulate time, travel through time, and even teleport—i.e., to travel from one place to another. All he has to do is to concentrate really hard! In one of his more successful attempts, he surprises himself when he manages to teleport himself all the way from a subway in Tokyo across the globe to Times Square, New York! Continue reading SURRENDERING OUR SWORD (Mt 14:13-21): 03 August 2008 (Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time)
EXAMINING YOUR HEART (Mt 13:44-52): 27 July 2008 (17th Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Reading today’s parable made me recall a story I read somewhere about an emperor and a beggar. It goes this way:
Once there was an emperor who met a beggar as he was coming out of his palace for his morning walk. He asked the beggar, “What do you want?”
To the emperor’s surprise, the beggar laughed and said, “You are asking me as though you can fulfill my desire!” Continue reading EXAMINING YOUR HEART (Mt 13:44-52): 27 July 2008 (17th Sunday in Ordinary Time)
‘LETTING THE WEEDS GROW’ (Mt 13:24-30): 20 July 2008 (Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time)
It’s not easy to find a commencement speech that’s both wise and witty. But I think that’s exactly what J.K. Rowling, bestselling author of the “Harry Potter” series, delivered at Harvard last June 5, 2008. The title she gave the speech gives you a fairly good idea of the gems of wisdom that she offered the Harvard graduates: “The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination.” Even for non-Harry Potter fans, the speech is worth reading in full–and thanks to technology, we can even watch the delivery itself (see below). Continue reading ‘LETTING THE WEEDS GROW’ (Mt 13:24-30): 20 July 2008 (Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time)