Showing posts from 2011


Solemnity of Mary Mother of God January 1, 2012
Readings: Nm 6:22-27 / Gal 4:4-7 / Lk 2:16-21

I write painstakingly using a Chinese keyboard, where I make tons of errors as I type. My new toy doesn’t have MS Office for MAC, so I have to make do with an ancient machine, with Chinese characters to boot!
It is New Year, and many people mistakenly think it is a Church feast. It is not. Whilst it starts a new civil year, it just coincides with the octave of Christmas, which is the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God.
Last week, Christmas Day, the focus was on the Son, God who took on flesh for our salvation. Today, the focus is on the mother of the Son of God, through whose cooperation, the miracle of the Incarnation took place. This is both the historical and theological truth, the kind for which an entire people of faith pauses, stops, reflects, and celebrates with then full capabilities a community of faith can muster.
It is just like Christmas today, which really means everyday this past week, …


Christmas Day (B) December 25, 2011
Readings: Is 52:7-10 / Heb 1:1-6 / Jn 1:1-5.9-14

One original Pinoy product is the brand of therapeutic and casual footwear called "Happy Feet." It had humble beginnings that all started with a visit to a foot doctor in Germany, to alleviate a foot malady of a family member. It became a by-word in no time, and actually attained a level of popularity for some time. Although I never got to own even one, I was quietly admiring the growing product line, along with the fact that it had gone mainstream for a great many years by now.
I couldn't help but think of feet today, the second holiest day of the Christian calendar. I couldn't help but think of feet, for that matter, for a number of reasons: First, I am aware that fellow "kababayan" Romy Garduce (of Everest fame!) is still aiming at completing the world's mythical seven mountains, with just one more mountain to go. Not bad for one who hails from the tropics, and who actua…


Fourth Sunday of Advent (B) December 18, 2011

David sure had brilliant ideas! He simply was convinced he had to do it, and no one else, he thought, was worthy enough to do what he planned to do – build God a house, and move the Ark of the Covenant from a tent to some place more worthy of it. Or so, he thought!
Hubris … pride and sinful vanity, no less! Far from what he was many years before, a nameless, faceless, powerless lad who did nothing more than shepherd his lowly flock of sheep, his position of power and prestige got the better of him, and thought he should do something that was really ultimately, God’s to do.
Something good, something noble, something laudable, no doubt ... nothing sinful, nothing remiss, nothing amiss … but something that can make one of holier, more humble stock feel ill at ease …
But God, in His wisdom, had other plans. No … it was not for David to build God a house, but it was God’s prerogative to make use of David’s very own plans to build His own house, foun…


3rd Sunday of Advent (B)
December 11, 2011

Whistleblowers, in our time, are a dime a dozen. They have sort of become a fad, a trend. They blow the whistle on anything imaginable – from huge corporations guilty of not just penny pinching at the expense of their workers, but  evading big social responsibilities, to presidents, prime ministers, and other political bigwigs caught with their proverbial sticky fingers in the cookie jar of massive corruption and all …

Hordes of people adore them. Many idolize them and put them atop pedestals of semi heroism. They become instant celebrities and guests of endless talk shows and their faces hog the TV screens on a daily basis.

We just love people who spill the beans and squeal about the shenanigans of people in power. Whilst not all of those who claim to be whistleblowers actually tell the truth, we give them credit for at least being avowedly, and supposedly, at the service of liberating truth.

But there is a world of a difference between those who…


2nd Sunday of Advent(B) December 4, 2011
Words of comfort open today’s liturgy: “Speak to the heart of Jerusalem!” – so says Isaiah. Addressing the seat of thought and wisdom, which is the “heart,” rather than the head, Isaiah reassures them of two things: one, all their debts have been paid for fully, and second, their suffering has come to an end!

I am sure everyone can see and “feel” the impact of such a great news, if one places himself/herself in the shoes of a people thrown into bitter exile, not just once in their history. I am sure, too, how relieved one can be when, after undeservedly suffering so much in silence, one is finally vindicated and declared free from the burden of guilt or accusation. We all experience this every time we get reconciled to the Lord so many times. We all feel relieved after a well-spent time on retreat, and done reparation for our own personal sins. We feel we are granted a fresh lease on life and everything good associated with it. We feel energized t…


1st Sunday of Advent (B) November 27, 2011

A brand-new year is starting today in Church! A wisp of new wind blows towards a new direction, a fresh start, a renewed effort, at becoming what we are already on the way to being.
We Christians know how to wait. We have been waiting, like the Israelites of old did. We are still actively waiting. In words borrowed from T.S. Eliot, we may sit still, but we are in point of fact, still moving … moving towards the fulfillment of what we have already started, though not yet fully and totally achieved.
We are a people in waiting. We, too, are a people in motion. We are a people in exile, like the Israelites once, or twice, were, living in a foreign land, subjected to foreign powers, humbled beyond imagination, by potentates bigger than us, bigger than the world, bigger than life itself! But we are also a people on the move. Like the Biblical people of old, though crushed, we are not defeated.
I have survived 13 Philippine mountains. Once I was on my wa…


November 20, 2011

Politics all over the world seems to be a jumbled mess. With high profile officials literally being forced to resign, or dictators being, booted out of power, if not murdered in cold blood, potential candidates whose dirty past is slowly but surely being ferreted out for the whole world to see, and reigning presidents and national leaders being taken to task for promises unkept, and the whole economic scenario spiraling down beyond control, there is only conclusion we all can reasonably come up with …
The world is in dire straits as far as leadership is concerned. Everywhere, there seems to be a crisis in leadership. Presidents and Prime Ministers; dictators and despots all running the risk of being toppled down from their ivory towers and thrones, in palaces and principalities that they have occupied far too long; Kings and Queens who are all aging and frantically looking for worthy successors; with former presidents being charged for …


33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (A) November 13, 2011

Today’s liturgy speaks as much of simple things as of seemingly insignificant matters. The first reading talks about the simplicity of a worthy wife, described as a “value beyond pearls.” The second reading talks about the deep, yet humble significance of the “times and seasons,” events in our everyday experience that we tend to take for granted. It also speaks about such mundane matters as day and night, darkness and light … again, realities that we hardly take notice of.
The Gospel makes much too, of what people in Jesus’ times most likely took for granted – the reality of servants who often would be left alone to fend for themselves, while their masters went away on long journeys. But more than just that, it speaks about something so simple and commonplace as the value of accountability, the good practice of stewardship, along with the virtue of responsibility.
But there are values and there are values … For their seeming simplicity an…


32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (A) November 6, 2011

I am still reeling from the startling impression given me by the words of St. Judith Zoebelein to Dr. Moynihan: “Find wisdom … Live from your heart, not just from your mind.”
It was, to say the least, a jolting reminder for one who, as teacher and educator, may have a reputation of living a little more from the “mind” side.
Wisdom … this is something we all hanker for and desire above everything else. In the morning of everyone’s life, we all look for learning, information, credentials, titles, and everything that enriches our resume. I am sure those who are younger than me will find this true. But I am sure those of you who are my contemporaries (or older) will find this more wise than true.
Many years ago, as a young freshman in college, I was touched by a line from Boris Pasternak’s novel “Dr. Zhivago.” “Man is born to live, not to prepare for life,” he wrote. Too bad so many of us forget about getting a life, and focus all our efforts a…


31st Sunday in Ordinary Time (A) October 30, 2011

“We too, give thanks to God unceasingly, that, in receiving the word of God from hearing us, you received not a human word but, as it truly is, the word of God, which is now at work in you who believe.” (2nd Reading, 1Thess 2:7-9.13)
We all have heard about so-called “self-fulfilling prophecies,” or the Rosenthal effect. Basically, it shows just how powerful even human utterance is. A seemingly innocuous word, when uttered irresponsibly, goes a long way and affects the hearer, along with the bearer. Gentle and kind words uplift both utterer and listener. Harsh words hurt the person inside out. Curse words, as we all know, can more than just dampen anyone’s enthusiasm. They can be very real put-downs that affect body and soul, and tear as much at the flesh, as at the heart, of anyone against whom they are directed.
I am, by this world’s class-conscious standards, basically what you might call a “hillbilly.” I was born in the boonies of Cavi…