Showing posts from July, 2009


N.B. This is my last posting in Manila before I fly to Guam for my new assignment. The succeeding postings will be done from Guam.

Catholic Homily / Sunday Reflections
18th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B
August 2, 2009

Surely two thousand years of history is long enough a time for the Church to learn quite a few lasting lessons. One of these is the need for us to lay aside the “sinful self” with all its unbridled desires and to allow grace to make of us all become what we originally all are by the express wish of God – images and likenesses of Him from whom we owe our existence.

But alas, this same self, owing to the pull of sin called “concupiscence,” is all too prone to go the way of “selfish cravings” and even illicit desires.

Our country is a pretty clear picture of selfish and conflicting desires on all fronts. Whilst I am not exactly a big fan of President GMA, I am aghast at the many times undeserved flak she is getting all in the name of a brand of politics that, really at bottom,…




16th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year BJuly 19, 2009

Catholic Homily / Sunday Reflection

There is no denying the fact that we live in a deeply fragmented world. We see a lot of suspicion, bias, and prejudice in the world. In the Philippines, Christians mistrust Muslims and Muslims are wary of Christians. With the proliferation of terroristic acts perpetrated by a few misguided zealots, the whole world tends to lump people, civilizations, and religious groups along clearly defined lines and categories. Owing to that old childish penchant for “universalization” even highly educated people fall into the trap of making sweeping generalizations, doing away with the finer – and, assuredly more difficult – nuances of moral discernment.

In many ways, people are uncritically led by certain prevailing views, especially those proffered and exposed – many times even magnified – by the Mass Media! Bombarded by endless reports and repeated subtle and not-so-subtle allusions to certain issues, in a manne…


15th Sunday in Ordinary Time(B)July 12, 2009

Usually, rejection comes with scorn, with disdain, with a whole lot of sarcasm and biting humor, and – to top it all off – perhaps a subtle accusation to boot. All this appears to be what is behind the experience of Amos, the prophet. The envious Amaziah, probably acting at the behest of the King, told Amos in effect to shut up or ship out. Lumping Amos with the band of rowdy and noisy charlatans – the paid “visionaries” of the time – Amaziah tells him to scram and get lost. He tells Amos to go and get cheaply paid some place else, not anywhere near the King’s “sanctuary and royal temple.”

It is bad enough to be rejected. But it is even worse to be accused, subtly or not so subtly, that he was nothing more than a paid hack, a cheapjack who earned his keeps by prophesying. It was an accusation that merited a straightforward answer from the not-so-easily-discouraged Amos: “I was no prophet, nor have I belonged to the company of prophets; I was…


14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)
July 5, 2009
Sunday Reflection / Catholic Homily

Ezekiel was not one who would mince words. He was not the type who would soft-pedal an important message, or one who would hesitate, or even doubt prophesying at all, when face to face with people who, he knew all too well, could either relent or resist. Heedful or rejecting, rebellious or ultimately accepting, … whatever it was that characterized Ezekiel’s hearers was the least of his concerns. Ezekiel prophesied “in season and out of season.” “And whether they heed or resist – for they are a rebellious house – they shall know that a prophet has been among them” (Ez 2:5).

On the other hand, we see Paul today in a moment of sincere and utter self-acceptance, a time when he recognizes that even God-sent apostles and prophets like him do have their difficult moments, a portion in life when, like the Master Himself, who begged the Father in his most agonizing moments at the Garden of Gethsemani: “If it is possi…