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Showing posts from November, 2013

SUDDENNESS. SURPRISE ... SALVATION!

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First Sunday of Advent (A) December 1, 2013
SUDDENNESS. SURPRISE … SALVATION!
Mountains have always mystified me. Oceans frightened me each time, but mountains always somehow make of me a little mystic. I have climbed at least 14 of them in tropical Philippines, a number of them for more than just once or twice, or even thrice, and every time I set my sights on one, I always sigh – and pine for – the heights.
The Israelites were spot on to think of mountains as a place of refuge and a place to encounter God. It certainly was – and is – refuge for me … Then and now … when times get tough and the rough and tumble of life get the better of me. It is also a place of encounter with God, especially when right from day one we started the group – and the tradition of trekking up heights at Don Bosco Mandaluyong, Philippines – we ended each weary day with a lively recitation of the rosary and the traditional Salesian pep talk called the “good night.” But the best was always the Eucharistic celeb…

SHEPHERD, SERVANT, KING

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November 24, 2013 Solemnity of Christ the King Year C Closing of the Year of Faith
SHEPHERD, SERVANT, KING
I missed my weekly “pan” last week. I was taken up trying to do what in my little capacity I could, to help the hapless victims of the supertyphoon that wrought death and unprecedented devastation to many places in Central Philippines.
It felt so humbling … being literally so helpless. The magnitude of the destruction was and still is, unfathomable. Money doesn’t grow on trees, and no one plucks it out of nowhere just when one needs it, no matter how urgent, no matter how important, no matter how noble.
But at the same time, it felt so encouraging. The little that was available for everyone to do was precisely what the suffering millions needed. The power that was not anyone’s innate resource was the very same power that God needed to do His mighty works. Aid came in trickles … a little bag here; a little bag there. A few hundred pesos now; a few hundred pesos later. By Tuesday I h…

NOT A GOD OF THE DEAD, BUT OF THE LIVING

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--> 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C November 10, 2013
N.B. I would like to join CNN, and the rest of the world, in paying tribute to my suffering compatriots down south in Central Philippines, who braved through the strongest tropical cyclone on earth in about three decades, by posting this pic I grabbed from CNN

NOT A GOD OF THE DEAD, BUT OF THE LIVING


Despite the systematic drive of anti-Catholics, most Filipinos trooped to the cemeteries, brought and lit candles and offered flowers for their beloved dead. Many also offered prayers and had the names of their beloved deceased relatives written and brought at the foot of altars in innumerable churches all over the country. They all are symbols and at the same time, actualizations of what many of us believe – that for us Christians, life is changed, not ended, and that we owe it to those who have gone ahead of us, to intercede for them, pray for them, that they all might be granted, in God’s mercy, eternal rest with Him i…

BROKEN BUT NOT BEATEN; FORLORN BUT NOT FORGOTTEN!

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31st Sunday Year C
November 3, 2013
BROKEN BUT NOT BEATEN, FORLORN BUT NOT FORGOTTEN!


I am afraid of heights. I fell from a tree once in my life, while doing  - you know – that childhood classic Batman stunt! (I will spare you the details!) But for one afraid of heights, I think I have done a mean feat climbing 14 Philippine mountains, one of them for more than 12 times!


I am a small man, too, by any standard, including by current Philippine standards where children of people not any taller than me, end up being a lot taller than their progenies. (Did we do the Star margarine challenge right? Or we just didn’t have Cherifer “tangkad sagad” back then?)


Today, I take comfort from the story of Zacchaeus. No … I don’t mean to gloat over his height (or the lack of it!). I meant, I take comfort from Zacchaeus, not because he was just as small as me, but because he was endowed with a big heart. He was willing to go out very literally, on a limb, because he had a great desire to see, to know, to…