Showing posts from April, 2009


Catholic Homily / Sunday Reflection
4th Sunday of Easter (B)
May 3, 2009

Tenderness and caring seem to be the hallmarks of today’s liturgy. Selflessness and unconditional love appear to ooze out of every line in today’s gospel. “I am the Good Shepherd…I will lay down my life for the sheep.”
An apt matter for reflection on Mother’s Day…

In the Philippines, most mothers are the real unsung heroes. Whilst it is true that most fathers are the material providers for the family, it is mothers who really come closest to the provident nature of a personal and loving God. Biblically, God’s providence is portrayed in the sacred book as a solicitous, caring type of love, frequently compared to the love of a mother. “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.” (Isa 49:15) God’s providence is pictured as a perpetual loving presence to His beloved people. Psalm 136 extols this God, who for a multiplicity of reasons, …


Catholic Homily /Sunday Reflection /Sunday Worship Guide
3rd Sunday of Easter(B)
April 26, 2009

There are just things and events that we can’t seem to have enough of. We talk about them endlessly. We tell and retell such stories. We rehash them in our minds and hearts. And the mouth just cannot keep itself shut. From the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks!

The opening line of today’s Gospel passage seems no different… “The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way, and how Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of bread.” The event was simply too much to contain, too powerful to simply sweep under the rug of one’s daily forgetfulness. No… that singular manifestation of the Risen Lord was simply something worth recounting, retelling and reliving.

Discoveries and insight come with “heartsight.” A heart that loves is never far from serendipity and intimate understanding. Visions are not very far either from reflective and loving discourse. When one reminisces, recoun…


Catholic Homily / Sunday Reflections / Sunday Worship Guide
2nd Sunday of Easter(B)April 19, 2009
Today is called Easter octave, the “eighth day” after Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection. When the Church celebrates, she does so with passion and panache. And so the two greatest solemnities of the Church calendar, Easter and Christmas, both have “octaves,” which means both Easter and Christmas really last for a whole week and a day. Let’s put it thus simply … every day from Easter Sunday to today, was and is, Easter day!
We have come full circle today. But even then, we have not completed the cycle. We do not put a “finis” to what we do in Church, for what we remember, is what we also celebrate, and what we remember and celebrate is what we believe in. And what we believe in, is still the object of our strivings, the focus of our longings, and the eventual fulfillment of our hope.
But there are two interlocking aspects of the hope that is in us – the “already,” that is, what has take…


Catholic Homily / Sunday Reflection
2nd Sunday of Easter (B)
April 19, 2009

This second Sunday finds togetherness in community an important illustration of some important truth with regards to our life of faith. The first reading begins thus: “The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own.” (Acts 4:32) St. John heightens this concept of togetherness and community and ties it up with faith: “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God…In this way, we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments.” (1 Jn 5:1) The Gospel speaks of the gathered disciples within a locked upper room, all huddled together in community, when Jesus appeared. Thomas, who was absent previously, we are told, was now with them. He was with the incipient community of believers.

The first reading does not refer to individual believers but to a community. Faith in St. John’s description starts from…


Catholic Homily/ Sunday Reflections/ Sunday Worship GuideEASTER SUNDAY (B)April 12, 2009

There is no skirting around it. There is a big jump from Good Friday to Easter Sunday – a big divide, a giant traverse, a monumental leap. And I don’t refer to the utter silence and dignified sorrow of Black Saturday in contrast to the subdued joys of Easter that, for many people, have been reduced to anemic “happy Easter” greetings and not-very-exciting Easter egg hunts, for whatever they are worth. Neither do I refer only to the fact that the resurrection has to do essentially with life flowing from death; victory from defeat, laughter and joy from the depths of ignominy and shame, and light issuing forth from darkness.Easter Sunday is all this … and a whole lot more!

In popular religiosity-prone Filipino culture, Easter Sunday does not seem to be the high-point of the Paschal Triduum. The popular “pabasa” is (a two-day long reading or singing of the popular version of the Passion account – a lite…

From Passion to PASSION!

April 10, 2009

Celebration of the Lord's Passion / Paschal Triduum / Holy Week Reflections

There is always a high price to pay for whatever one stands up for. One pays dearly for taking up a cause, a position, an advocacy of any sort. One can believe, more or less, something. One can take up an issue and choose to either be anemic about it, or totally taken up by it. The former, it may be said, pays mere lip service to a cause. The latter pays with so much more than cheap and canned words for it.

The one who does more than give perfunctory and superficial support may be said to lack passion. And one who lacks passion lacks drive. And one who lacks drive can run away from anything when the going gets tough, and when one feels the heat of opposition from within and without.

Back in my younger mountaineering days (it’s really more like glorified backpacking and trekking more than anything!), it was sort of easy to tell the difference between a committed applicant and one w…


MASS OF THE LORD’S SUPPERMaundy Thursday / Holy Thursday / Last Supper of the LordApril 9, 2009

Readings: Ex 12:1-8, 11-14 / 1 Cor 11:23-26 / Jn 13:1-15

One beautiful thing about the Christian Catholic liturgy is its interlocking web of meanings. There is more than meets the eye in what we do together in the Church’s official worship. We read Scripture. We pray using the same Scripture. We remember the story as told in Scripture. But we do more than remember …. We remember… we celebrate … But we also do more than just celebrate … We believe!

There is also an interlocking web of meanings in the story that unfolds before our eyes as we read it in Church. Today, Maundy Thursday, is no exception. The drama of Holy Week began with a positive note last Sunday. The triumphant entry into Jerusalem could best be described as no less than royal – the closest thing to getting a red carpet welcome. But is it really? The details show us a lot of “circumstance” minus the “pomp.” In place of the red c…


Catholic Homily / Sunday Worship Guide / Sunday Reflection
Passion / Palm Sunday
April 5, 2009

Passion Sunday opens the holiest week of the liturgical calendar. It opens with some kind of a “bang” in the sense that it begins with a triumphant procession, with Jesus’ entry being acclaimed as the coming in glory of the promised and much-awaited Messiah. In many places such triumphant entry is re-enacted in some way through a procession with blessing of palms and the singing, where possible of “Hosanna to the Son of David.”

This first part that is sedately triumphant and joyful, however, stands in stark contrast to the second part that is highlighted by the reading of the Passion. The mood changes. The second part is some kind of a reality check. This Messiah who has been acclaimed is saviour and king alright, but not exactly the way and manner expected by people. He was to be no military leader, no deliverer by way of arms and force and might, but a humble suffering servant figure who would…