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Showing posts from January, 2008

“GOOGLING” DISCIPLESHIP (4th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year A)

Catholic Homily/Reflection
4th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle A
February 3, 2008

Last week, the liturgy did for us a “google” on discipleship. What we found led us to one basic idea that stuck out very clearly … disciples had to be “free” enough to follow. Among others, entanglements and enmeshments, whether psychological or physical, are meant to be left behind. The two pairs of brothers strike us with their prompt, interior complex-free response. They “left immediately their boat and their father and followed [the Lord].”

Our google search this Sunday leads us to an additional, no less important, concept anent discipleship. Apart from being “free,” a would-be disciple, we are further reminded, has to be “light” enough, one who is not too heavily laden with stuff to start with, as to be sort of “needy,” one who is wanting in a certain way, one who can follow Zephaniah’s wise counsel: “Seek the Lord, all you humble of the earth … seek justice, seek humility.”

Our postmodern (and post-chri…

WHO DO YOU BELONG TO?

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Catholic Homily/Sunday Reflection
3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A
January 27, 2008

This Sunday, as the readings introduce us to the public life of Jesus, to his call to discipleship, a theme that will resonate in the next few Sundays, we are confronted with a very deep, but foundational question to answer on our own. Who do I belong to?

The Corinthians offer us a sneak peek at human nature, specifically at our propensity for division, for bickering, for disunity, and all sorts of interpersonal strife and fractiousness. “I belong to Paul … I belong to Apollos … I belong to Christ.” Judging from the passion with which Paul writes to the factionalized members of the church of Corinth, then caught up in petty squabbling and inane “party politics,” it would not be hard to imagine what he is writing about as jutting straight out of our own personal and group experiences. Disunity and lack of oneness in so many aspects of our lives are an integral part of our human experience. In my 25 …

GOD IN EVERYDAY ORDINARINESS

Catholic Homily for the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A. January 20, 2008Please find below in a separate posting a reflection on the Sto. Nino (Feast of the Holy Child) which is a national celebration in the Philippines. N.B. I am reposting a reflection I wrote three years ago, in the aftermath of the Asian tsunami that ravaged a big part of Asia. I post this in advance as I will be in the center of all the celebrations - Cebu City, in order to preach a retreat for a week. I may not have time to post a new one but I will try.
Today’s reflection poses as a big challenge for me straddling between two worlds set apart by some 9,000 miles of ocean and shore, mistakenly called by history as the pacific, the same pacific ocean that was the theater of bitter, anything but pacific conflict just 60 or so years ago. The pacific ocean is the same body of water that has seen deadly tsunamis over the last 100 years, where the so-called “ring of fire” of volcanic and tectonic – and obviously – …

HALA, BIRA!

N.B. For the sake of my Philippine readers, I am posting in advance, a reflection I wrote back in 2003 on the Feast of the Child Jesus (Sto. Nino). My foreign readers will understand that the feast of the Holy Child is an important one in Philippine culture and tradition and is one of the noisiest, merriest, and fun-filled days of the year.I have also made a related reflection at Per Agrum ad Sacrum site.
There is an air of decisiveness and definitiveness by which revelers at the famous Sinulog of Cebu and the Ati-atihan of Aklan, and similar celebrations all over the country get into the act of celebrating the feast of the Santo Nino. What some of them shout out in full force as they beat their drums and dance their way through the main thoroughfares expresses it all: HALA, BIRA!I have no ready explanation for this phenomenon as a Filipino, but the way we Filipinos greet young children and treat them to festive celebrations has definitely an air of aggressive hopefulness all the time!…

CALLED, GRASPED, FORMED, AND SET!

Catholic Homily/Reflection
Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord - Year A
January 13, 2008

The solemnity of today smacks of growth and development – a gradual process of enlightenment, of understanding, of individuals slowly realizing or seeing things in their totality, for their bigger and deeper meaning. We speak here of people seeing more than just the “light of a star,” more than just romantic images of a child born in circumstances of great expectation and waiting. We speak of a deeper epiphany, a greater understanding of God’s process of revealing Himself to the world.

Indeed, the Baptism of the Lord counts as a big part of the bigger mystery of the Epiphany, a feast we celebrated last Sunday.

But lest we get too lost too soon on deep theological insights, let us start with simple things first, as can be gleaned from the text of today’s scriptural readings. We start with Isaiah, who speaks prophetically of what is known as the “suffering servant” of Yahweh. He gives a preview of what…

BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO SEEK

Catholic Homily/Reflection
Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord

In most parts of the world, Christmas began with hordes of seekers. They went in droves and waves, as early as the day after Thanksgiving (or September in the Philippines) seeking for the best bargains, seeking for the best gifts to give both themselves and others they care for. Christmas – or at least the commercialized kind propagated by the “malling culture” of consumerism – also closed with even more hordes of seekers searching for even better bargains for items “previously owned” – and returned – by “unsatisfied” consumers (at least in America).

In the aftermath of the horrendous tsunami that killed possibly more than 150,000 thousand people in nine different countries two years ago, a tragedy that happened just the day after Christmas, just when the whole Christian world ought to have been immersed deeply in the heart of the mystery of Christmas, the number of seekers swelled even more, as reports and images of 60 fo…