Showing posts from January, 2011


Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A January 30, 2011

The first reading from the Prophet Zephaniah seems like an acceptance of what is, a copping out to what is inevitable, a surrendering to what is ineluctable. Zephaniah speaks of a remnant, a few brave and steadfast souls, who will be a “people humble and lowly,” and who will “take refuge in the Lord.”
I cannot but reflect on these words as I listened for a short while to whatever new Senate investigation (among many fruitless ones) was going on yesterday in the Philippines. As I heard the unexplainable amnesia of certain bigwigs of the Philippine armed forces, “the few, the brave, the chosen,” a growing sense of frustration and anger was welling up from within me. Isaiah’s words rang true. There is but a tiny remnant left in the sea of teeming humanity, created in God’s image and likeness,  that seems to fit the mold of a “people humble and lowly.” There is but a few now that can be singled out from the ranks of the bold and the braz…


3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A January 23, 2011
Readings: Is 8:23 – 9:3 / 1 Cor 1:10-13,17 / Mt 4:12-17

We simply cannot have enough of the Christmas spirit. Three weeks into ordinary time, just after the Christmas season (a long, long one in the Philippines!), we hear echoes of what we reflected on a whole lot, weeks and days before, during, and after Christmas (with an extra day to boot for us Pinoys, given the last hurrah we did on Santo Nino day, last Sunday!). The first reading once more speaks of light that shone in the darkness. Oozing with optimism, Isaiah prophesies what we long for and expect, in the spirit of Christian hope. He speaks of yokes on our shoulders being taken away, and rods of taskmasters being smashed. Anguish, he adds, will take wing, and darkness will be no more.
As I write, I am tying to get a grip of the multiplicity of “yokes, poles, and rods” that an equally seemingly infinite number of “taskmasters” impose on so many peoples. I am trying to make sense o…


Second Sunday in Ordinary Time(A) / Feast of the Santo Nino (Philippines)
January 16, 2011

Readings: Is 49:3,5-6 / 1Cor 1:1-3 / Jn 1:29-34 (2nd Sunday)
or Is 9:1-6 / Eph 1:3-6,15-18 / Mt 18:1-5,10 (Feast of the Santo Nino)

I write from atop my perch over at Maloloj, at the Archdiocesan Retreat House of Guam. Working during the break from the proceedings of the clergy convocation, I find myself experiencing writer’s block, feeling myself totally devoid of all inspiration, inside my aircon-less room in the hot sultry Guam weather at its worst in early afternoon.

My attention is occasionally captured by the placid sea just a couple of hundred feet from my window, out into the open Pacific, where storms that hit the Philippines or go to the northwesterly direction, are spawned. The sea reminds me of the vastness not only of creation but the vastness of the mission that we members of the clergy are indirectly talking about, even if it were not the primary agendum of the convocation.

Isaiah sp…


Baptism of the Lord(A)
January 9, 2011

Readings: Is 42: 1-4, 6-7 / Acts 10:34-38 / Mt 3:13-17

We haven’t quite recovered yet from all the glitter and glamour, the glare and the glimmer of the big Christmas festivities. It is hard to think of the feast of the baptism of the Lord as anything less than what we have sort of gotten used to over the long Christmas celebrations.

But the feast of the Baptism of the Lord is not any less than the rest of the celebrations of the Christmas season, although totally ignored by mainstream media. It is a step forward, not backward. It brings in more, not less. It increases, not diminishes, our understanding of who Christ is, for us … for the world … for the Church! For it is part, no less, of the overall Christmas mystery of the Incarnation. It is part and parcel of the mystery, too, of God’s gradual self-revelation to the world, the Epiphany, which we celebrated just last Sunday.

Liturgy is faith coming alive in sign, song, symbol, ritual, and cel…


Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord(A) January 2, 2011
Readings: Is 60:1-6 / Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6 / Mt 2:1-12

Counselors like us see it all the time ... faces that speak of delight, of awe, of fear, of worry ... faces that cringe when speaking of sorrow ... faces that open up when speaking of joy ... eyes that twinkle when clients speak of newfound discovery and insight. What they see goes far beyond what they get! When they see (read: gain insight) people change countenance. Their faces become radiant!
As a teacher these past 33 years, and as a perpetual student of human behavior, I see more and more the importance of clues that "body language" gives to us in the helping profession. When people see beyond and see more than meets the eye, their faces glow.
What they see, is also what they show. They see something joyful and hopeful, and their whole countenance adapts to whatever it is they see.
Today, the liturgy speaks of delight ... delight that comes from "the light" th…