Tuesday, October 28, 2014

IKALAWANG LINGGO NG ADBIYENTO - B


LAGI BANG MABUTI ANG MABUTING BALITA?




Sa Adbyento, inihahanda tayong makinig sa Mabuting Balita ng Panginoong Hesukristo.  Pero ano ba talaga itong mabuting balita? Ito ba ay laging mabuti lang, kaaya-aya lang, madali at kumportableng balita?

Kasi sa gospel ngayon, kita naman natin na sa buhay ni Juan Bautista, ang Mabuting Balita ay hindi laging mabuti, at least, sa paraan na inaasahan natin itong maging mabuti o kaaya-aya.  Ang mabuting balita ayon kay Juan ay hindi kumportableng balita.

Sa halip ang Mabuting Balita ay humahamong balita.  Sinubukan ni Juan na hamunin ang mga nakikinig sa kanya na magbalik loob sa Diyos, lumayo sa kasalanan, tuntunin ang sentro ng kanilang puso. Hindi kaya madaling lumayo sa kasalanan at magbagong buhay, alam natin yan!  Pero kung nais nating makilala ang Mesias na ipinangangaral ni Juan, minsan talaga, kahit masakit ay dapat nating tanggihan ang mga naglalayo sa atin sa piling ng Diyos.

Ang mabuting balita din ay nakakabagabag na balita. Hindi si Juan ang sentro ng kanyang sariling misyon.  Itinuturo niya sa atin ang isang mas mataas, mas magaling, mas dapat sundan dahil punong puno siya ng Espiritu at may kapangyarihang magbahagi ng Espiritu.  Si Hesus, na ipinapahayag ni Juan ang nag-aakay sa atin sa lalong malalim na hiwaga ng pag-ibig at ng paglilingkod.  Akala natin pwede na tayong makuntento sa isang tulad ni Juan na magaling mangaral at manghikayat ng mga tao.  Pero si Hesus ang talagang magtutulak sa atin na marating ang higit pa sa lahat ng bagay sa ating buhay espiritual. Sa pagsunod natin kay Hesus, yayanigin niya ang ating buhay upang lalo tayong maging banal at sapat sa Kaharian ng Ama.

Panginoon, ngayong Adbiyento, naway matanggap ko ang Mabuting Balita na humahamon at bumabagabag sa aking kalagayan ngayon tungo sa pagsuko at pagsunod kay Hesus na iyong Anak.


SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT - B


IS GOOD NEWS ALWAYS GOOD?



In Advent we are confronted with the Good News of Jesus Christ.  But what really is good news?  Is it always good, always comfortable, always nice and easy?

Today, we hear the good news from the mission of John the Baptist.  In the case of John, we see that the Good News is not always “good,” at least not in the way we expect things to be good. For good news is not comfortable, nice and easy news. 

Rather Good news is challenging news.  John challenged his listeners to take the path of conversion, of turning away from sin, of returning to the center of their hearts.  It is not easy to avoid the path of sin and make amends for our mistakes in life.  But for us to meet the One the Baptist points to us, we must at times, painfully refuse anything that removes us from the presence of the Lord.

Good News is also disturbing news. John does not preach himself. He introduces someone greater than himself, full of the Spirit and sharer of the Spirit. Jesus, reveals so much more than John does. In Jesus, we are ushered into the realm of greater mystery, greater love, greater service. Just as when we think John is enough, that we can settle with him and his preaching, here comes Jesus to take us to a whole new level of relating with God.

Lord prepare my heart this Advent to heed your challenges and to be disturbed by Jesus’ call; prepare me for the real good news…

UNANG LINGGO NG ADBIYENTO - B


PAGHIHINTAY NA MAY PANANABIK



May iba-ibang reaksyon kapag tayo’y naghihintay.

May naghihintay na naiinip na.  May naghihintay na kakaba-kaba.  May naghihintay na galit at nagda-dabog.  Merong nadala na sa kahi-hintay dahil sobrang tagal na at tila walang nangyayari.

Ang Adbiyento ay paghihintay pero ibang uri ng paghihintay kaysa mga ordinaryong karanasan natin ng paghihintay.

Sa Adbiyento, hinihintay natin ang Diyos, hinihintay nating makita ang kanyang kapangyarihan na lumantad, hinihintay natin siya na yumuyuko upang yakapin ang kanyang mga anak.

Kaya para sa Kristiyano, ang paghihintay ng Adbiyento ay puno ng pananabik, ng pag-asa, ng galak. Oo, kahit ba sabihin pang naghihintay tayo sa gitna ng dusa at sakit na dala ng ating mga pang araw-araw na problema. May pag-asa pa rin kasi Diyos ang ating hinihintay na darating upang magdala ng mabuti, bago at magandang handog para sa ating buhay.

Naglalakad ako sa gilid ng kalsada. Nakita ko sa isang banda ang isang maliit na batang nakatanaw sa porch ng bahay nila, patalon-talon, nakangiti at kinikilig pa. Sinundan ko ang mata ng bata at sa kabilang ibayo ng kalsada may isang lalaking nakatingin din sa bata, nakangiti at kumakaway-kaway din. A, ito pala ang tatay niya. Siguro buong hapon, naghihintay ang bata . Tuwang tuwa siya kasi tanaw na tanaw na niya ang tatay niya.  Ang lapit-lapit na ng tatay niya sa pag-uwi sa bahay.

Nasasabik ka pa ba sa Pasko? May excitement pa ba ang bawat Adbiyento na hinihintay mong salubungin si Kristo?  Ano ba talaga ang hinihintay mo ngayong panahong ito?  Kasama ba diyan ang Diyos?

Lord, punuin mo po ng pananabik ang aking puso…

FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT - B


WAITING IN EXCITEMENT



Waiting brings about different reactions.

Some wait in boredom. Some wait full of apprehensions. Some wait in anger. There are even those who have been traumatized by long and fruitless waiting.

Advent is a period of waiting, but certainly a lot different than our ordinary experiences of waiting in life. 

Advent is waiting for God, waiting to see his power unfold, waiting to meet him who bends to embrace his children in love. 

So for a Christian, the waiting of Advent is full of excitement, of great anticipation, of joy.  Yes, even if we wait in pain and sorrow because of life’s toils and troubles, we still manage to wait full of hope because it is God who will come to meet us. And God has always something good and new and beautiful to offer.

I was walking along a busy highway when I saw a small boy standing in their house’s porch giggling, jumping and smiling at something at the other side of the road. I followed his gaze and I saw a man, surely the boy’s father, who for his part, while trying to cross the street, was also smiling and waving to his excited son. Maybe the boy was waiting all afternoon for his dad, and how happy he was to see that he is very near, that he is almost home.

Are you still excited about Christmas? Does the spirit of Advent still fill you with an excitement to welcome the Lord in your life?  What are you really waiting for in life?  Is God part of what you expect?

Lord, give me the grace of being excited to meet you and find you in this season.

Friday, September 12, 2014




MY NEW BOOK ON SUNDAY GOSPEL REFLECTIONS, CYCLE B

AVAILABLE NOW AT ALL STPAULS BOOKSTORES NATIONWIDE

COME AND GET A COPY FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR FRIENDS! 

GOD BLESS YOU!


Sunday, August 24, 2014

ANNIVERSARY REFLECTION

WEAK ENOUGH?

St Ignatius of Loyola, July 31, 2014

I love St Ignatius of Loyola, not because I'm a fan of the Jesuits nor because I was ordained on his feast day. I love St. Ignatius because of his spirituality, and specially because of the Ignatian retreat.
I facilitated several Ignatian retreats: after the first one, I came home with chickenpox. After the second one, I came home with flu. After the third one, I came home with internal allergies that took a long time to treat. When I was invited again, I had second thoughts about agreeing.

In spite of the trauma at the end of each retreat, I continue to love and admire Ignatius because of his spiritual legacy. Foremost in this is the hallmark of this spirituality, his central vision – “to find God in all things”.

As priests, where do we find God?  The seminary conditioned us to find God in strength – in the great and noble achievements of the human spirit. So God is there in discipline, in purity, in zeal, in simplicity, and in excellence (academics, arts or sports).

The tacit question behind our formation was “are you strong enough to become a priest?” if you possess the desired character, the virtues, the merits the formators are looking for, you are eligible for ordination. You are strong enough to become a priest.

This mentality goes on after ordination, in our every assignment. If you are capable, you become a parish priest, a formator, a chancellor, a bishop’s secretary. If you are promising, you are sent for studies abroad; you are chosen for missionary work, or elected to the council and made ready for more promotions.

Thus, as priests, we find the Lord in strength.

The problem is, nobody prepared us for the weaknesses that await us in the world. Nobody told us that we wont be strong for long. Like every mortal, as a priest, I will fail, I will forget, I will fall down, I will lose focus, I will be bent, bruised and broken… somewhere, sometime.
Nobody, at the time of ordination, was looking forward to the fact that even as he received sacred powers, he is still a weak human being.

But we are weak, this is the truth. However, we are not trained to dwell on this. We are not prepared to admit it. Some lay people are shocked and scandalized to discover their priests are weak. And when I discovered my own weaknesses, it made me sad, disturbed, hopeless.

This is where Ignatius enters with fresh inspiration: to find God in all things – and in acknowledging my weakness, I am challenged with a new question: “are you weak enough to become a priest?” can you find God in the midst of your mistakes, betrayal, sinfulness, selfishness, struggles and tears? If God can be found in strength, surely He is also, though more subtle but more powerful, in my weakness. Didn’t St. Paul say: when I am weak, them I am strong.?

If I identify God only in my strengths, it is possible that I am just looking back at myself in a mirror, saying to myself “congratulations.” But if I find him in weakness, I am really looking at the One who hangs on the Cross and together with him, hoping for my own resurrection.

We have started relating our stories – stories of weakness; and we begin to admit that many, or all, of us, are fallen. It is so painful because we are not trained for this. It is embarrassing because noWe have started relating our stories – stories of weakness; and we begin to admit that many, or all, of us, are fallen. It is so painful because we are not trained for this. It is embarrassing because now we have nothing to boast of. It is crippling because I seem to have nothing more to offer.

Yet I must find God even in this very human experience. It is only in seeing myself weak that there can be mercy, healing and grace in abundance. Just like the clay in the hands of a potter (Jeremiah), unless it entrusts itself to the hands of the potter, it cannot take form.

18 years ago, I stood before my bishop and the unspoken question was: are you strong enough to become a priest?

18 years after, I kneel before the Crucified Lord who asks of me: are you weak enough to become a priest?

May St   Ignatius   help us all to discover God in all things, in strength but even more so in our weakness.    And then to move on to discovering His will in this new situation of our lives. Amen.

Monday, June 23, 2014

DAKILANG KAPISTAHAN NG KRISTONG HARI


SAANG ROW KA NAKAUPO SA CLASSROOM?



Sa aking pagninilay sa Ebanghelyo sa Solemnidad ng Kristong Hari, naalala ko ang aking kabataan. Sa grade school, tayo pinapaupo ng ating mga guro ng “by row”. Ang bawat row ay may inirerepresentang ugali sa klase. Ang mga nakaupo sa unang row ay tahimik at masisipag mag-aral. Ang mga nasa pangalawang row ay may unting kakulangan sa pokus. At sa pangatlo, pang-apat at panglima.. Alam kong nauunawaan niyo ang aking ibig sabihin.

Sinasabi sa atin ng ebanghelyo na ihihiwalay niya ang mga tupa sa kambing, gaya ng ginagawa ng ibang pastol; may ilan sa kanan at yung iba sa kaliwa. Ito ay normal. Ito ay ginagawa para ipagsama ang dapat na magkakasama. Ang mga nasa kanan ay makakatanggap ng papuri at gantimpala. Ang mga nasa kaliwa ay ang mga umalis at lumisan o ang mga tumalikod sa Diyos.

Pero paano ba ako makakapunta sa unang row sa kanang bahagi? Gusto ko mapunta kung nasaan ang mga tupa. Paano ako mapapabilang sa taong tahimik? Pag dating sa mga uliran, pangarap, intension, sa tingin ko, mas madali ito kung tayo ay mapupunta sa unang row, kasama ang mga tupang nararapat papurihan dahil sa kanilang paglilingkod. Sa mga taong hindi maiisip gumawa ng masama, na ibabahagi ang kanyang buhay, mag-aalay ng paglilingkod para maranasan ang kagalakan? Madaling mangarap ng mga mabubuting bagay.

Ngunit ipinapaalala sa atin ng Ebanghelyo na hindi an gating intension at layunin ang magpapabilang sa atin sa mga tupa. Ito ay isang tunay na aksyon, praktikal na aksyon, na magbibigay daan para tayo ay maging karapat dapat na maligtas. Ang Panginoong Hesus ay binibigyan tayo ng pahiwatig sa mga bagay na adapat nating gawin, anong gawa ng pag-ibig, ang dapat nating isagawa para sa iba, anong kilos ng pagsuporta ang dapat nating ipakita bilang mga Kristyano.

Pagbabahagi ng pagkain, inumin, damit. Paglalaan ng oras sa may sakit, at nakakulong. Kabutihan sa mga hindi natin kakilala – ito ay mga aksyon, pamantayan na nagtulak kay Hesus para sabihin: “Halika, ikaw ay pinagpala ng aking Ama!”

Ito ay hindi madaling gawin, dahil ang buhay natin ay nagbago na. Tayo ay abala at nagagalit sa ating trabaho at mga pinagkakaabalahan. Ang pagbabahagi ay nagiging mahirap.

Sa paglalayo ng biyaya ng buhay na walang hanggan, Ang Diyos ay gaganitin ang parehong pamantayan sa atin. Ang kaparehas na aksyon, na hindi natin ipinagsasawalang bahala natin ay ang magpapadinig sa atin ng mga salita ng Panginoon sa Araw ng Paghuhusga: Lumayo ka sa akin, ikaw na sinumpa! Siguro ay hindi natin gusto na mapabilang sa mga row sa kaliwang dako.

Sa ating pagdiriwang ng Solemnidad ng Kristong Hari, tignan natin an gating mga puso at aksyon. Gusto ba talaga natin na makasama ang ating hari and gawin ang lahat para mapatunayan ito? Tayo unti unti ng pumapasok sa panahon ng pagdating ng ating Panginoon. Nawa ang transisyon na ito ay gawin tayong malay na ilagay ang ating mga ninanais sa praktikal, konkretong aksyon ng pagmamahal, pagbabahagi at pagsuporta.

Nawa ay maging karapat dapat tayo ng mapunta sa unang row.