SMILING ALL THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES

This reflection is based on Mark 9:38-48.

I’m reading the new book from Filipino priest-poet, Fr. Albert Alejo, SJ, Nabighani. It’s a lovely book of religious poetry translated into Filipino and guaranteed to make you fall in love all over again with our language. One of its gems that immediately caught my eye was a little-known piece entitled “Upang Ako’y Ngumiti sa Buo Kong Buhay” (“That I May Smile All My Life”), a prayer written by a Jorge Mario Bergoglio on the day of his ordination on December 13, 1969.

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YOU CAN’T STILL A STORM YOU STIR

This reflection is based on Mark 4:35-41.

The gospel story about Jesus stilling the storm at sea takes on new significance with the recent release of Pope Francis’ much-awaited encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si. The Pope minces no words and spells it out for us. It is not easy to hear. Listen:

“The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”

Francis braves the wind and rain at open air Mass in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippine.
Francis braves wind and rain at open-air Mass in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines.

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NETS NOT REQUIRED

image7This homily is based on Mark 1:14-20 and Jonah 3:1-5, 10.

I’ve read this account of the Call of the First Disciples so often before, but it’s only my reading it this time around that something struck me as funny: Is it merely coincidental that our Lord chances upon these two sets of brothers in the midst of working with their nets? Think about it: Andrew and Simon casting their nets, and John and James mending theirs. Then out of nowhere comes this Nazarene who invites them to follow him, and the first thing these disciples do–these “fishers of men”–is to leave their nets behind. Continue reading NETS NOT REQUIRED

YOU WILL BE CALLED PETER

This homily is based on John 1:35-42.

pope

Like many Filipinos these days, I am infected with Francis-mania, and I offer no apologies or explanation for it. Even if I am miles away from the Philippines, I exhibit all the symptoms of this collective infatuation with the Pope that’s sweeping the Philippines. I’ve been watching every possible online coverage of the papal visit, reading every homily, and scouring the Internet for every possible picture of the Holy Father. Continue reading YOU WILL BE CALLED PETER