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becoming contemplatives: first day novena jaro carmel

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Today as in the next eight days leading to Carmel’s feast we will be invited to become contemplatives.  Contemplative life is not just for nuns and monks.  Every Christian is called to become a contemplative.  All of us. Today the prophet Elijah is presented to us in our first reading and also in our gospel.  Mary may be the patroness of Carmel but the Prophet Elijah is its spiritual father.  Why?  Because he was a contemplative who changed the world around him.  Let me repeat that – Elijah was a contemplative who changed the world around him.  Sometimes we have this notion that contemplatives are people who flee from the world, they don’t want to do anything in the world, and they don’t want the world to disturb or to affect them.  No, that is not Elijah, and no, that is not a being contemplative.  If you are running away from the problems at home or from the hustles and stress of your business, that is not being contemplative, that is being a coward, not a contemplative.  Because con…

questions whose answers we already know: 13th sunday B

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You probably remembered sang gamay pa kita kag nadakpan kita sang aton ginikanan ukon sang aton maestra nga nagatinunto. Tapos singgitan kita dala pamangkot - gaano ka da?  Actually nakita na niya kon ano ang aton sala pero mamangkot pa sia.  Pero kita iya aton, bisan nakita na kita, masabat pa kita, “wala a, nagapungko lang gid ko di.” We find something similar in the bible, in Genesis for example.  When Adam and Eve sinned against God, God came looking for them, Where are you? It’s as if he does not know what happened.  So also with Abel and Cain.  When Cain killed his brother Abel God also asked where is your brother?  Again, it’s as if God did not know what happened. But of course God knew because in the next dialogue God said to Cain, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.”  Bal-an ya na gid lang, mamangkot pa sia, indi bala?  Daw ka useless nga question, indi bala?

lifebank: 12th week thursday

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Two nights ago I opened a youtube documentary entitled the 10 biggest banks in the world, banks with trillions of dollars in assets.  Curiously it started with a quotation from God knows where, and it says: “Give a man a gun and he will rob a bank.  Give a man a bank and he will rob the world.”  Frankly I do not know how you would react to that quote, but I am beginning this homily with this quote on purpose because I do not want you to take this as a homily, that is as gospel truth and accept it just that, hook, line and sinker.  No. The reflections that follows is something I would like you to discuss among yourselves after I leave.  You may agree, you may disagree, you may expound further, cut short, alter completely or you can just simply tear it apart and throw it out.  The point is it is my wish that this will trigger you to reexamine yourself more closely, your purpose, your mission, your vision and dreams, what you love about this place, what you hate about it, what you want f…

25th year in the priesthood - june 15, 1993-2018

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When I asked Reynard (Tubid) to give the homily in this mass marking my 25thyear in the priesthood, it is not because he is a just a deacon who happens to be from Oton and who happens to be my student.  In other words, it is not just because he cannot say no to me.  But more importantly, I am interested in what this idealistic young deacon who is going to be ordained a month from now together with Fremar and Eric, I am interested in what he was going to say.  Age may have given us wisdom, but the young have in their possession still the ideals, the standard, the epitome of the priesthood. In my 25thyear I need to be reminded of the ideals of the priesthood and in my 25thyear I need to know how far have I been veering away from these ideals. Faithfulness in the priesthood means a life configured to Christ.  Faithfulness in the priesthood is sustained by prayerfulness.  Faithfulness to the priesthood is remaining in God’s love.   And when my own faithfulness is tested and found wanting,…

being barnabas and being happy: 10th week monday

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Today we celebrate the feast of St. Barnabas.  He was Paul’s companion on his first missionary journey.  The name Barnabas means son of encouragement and consolation. And true to his name Barnabas encouraged Paul especially during the first year of Paul’s conversion. Christians were doubting his conversion. So nobody listened to Paul, he was shunned, people would not even come near him.  It could have been disheartening for Paul.  But who saved him?  Barnabas.  Barnabas encouraged Paul.  And because of that Paul persevered and became the apostle to the gentiles.

necessary dispositions in celebrating mass: corpus Christi B

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The first part of the gospel speaks of the preparations that were made for the Passover celebration of Jesus.  It was to be his last Passover.  We all know that it is in this Passover meal that Jesus instituted the Eucharist, what we call today as the Holy Mass, the same mass which we celebrate every day and in a special way every Sunday.  Our gospel today narrates where it all begun – when Jesus took bread saying, "Take it; this is my body." Then he took the chalice, gave thanks, and gave it to them,saying "This is my blood of the covenant,which will be shed for many.”

In our gospel today Jesus teaches us two necessary disposition which we should bring with us every time we celebrate the mass.

living in the presence of mystery: felix's funeral

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The thoughts I would like to share with you this afternoon should have been delivered last Sunday, Trinity Sunday. But I have to give way to Fr. Ryan Teves who was after all an avid fan of Felix’s own version of dinuguan which by the way may have caused inadvertently Fr. Ryan’s 3rdstroke.  Fr. Ryan has to say mass for him because he was the cause why Felix had to tell lies every time he comes to ask for that cholesterol laden, uric acid rich food.  Well, priests who crave once in a while for life’s little joys know Felix.  Even the austere Carmelite nuns of Jaro could not resist and would sometimes send the driver to pick something up in his non-descript eatery.  It is a consolation to be a source of the simple joys of life to other people, that sometimes I feel a bit envious that I am known to other people not because of who I am but because of my brothers.

if god wills it: felix: 7th week wednesday

Today we listened to the readings intended for today.  We focus our attention on our first reading, from the letter of James.  When I visited Felix in the hospital bringing in tow one of the seminarian, Felix was in a jovial and hopeful mood, as was his attitude towards life.  Among other things, we talked about his business and the dreams he had for improving his products especially the packaging that would make his products look better.  After all he said taste alone is not enough, presentation is also important. After we left the hospital, the seminarian asked me, abi ko 4thstage na sia, daw kaayo pa man to sa iya. Siling ko sa seminarista, sa tuod lang samtang nagahambal si Felix sang iya mga plano nagsulod man ina sa pensar ko. Pero nagalibog ang ulo ko kon ano ang ihambal ko kay indi man ako luyag nga i-interrupt ang iya maayo nga panan-aw sa palaabuton.  I wanted to find the right words nga indi man ako mahimo nga butigon at the same time indi man ako makabig nga killjoy.

doing things for love of God: 7th week tuesday

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In the prayer Act of Contrition which we recite during confession there is that phrase there which says, O my God I am heartily sorry for having offended you because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell.  I am sorry for my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell.  It is an acknowledgement that losing heaven and being assigned to hell for all eternity are the motivations moving me to go to confession and be sorry for my sins. As human beings we are always drawn to do good because of the prospect of rewards or the fear of punishment. This does not just rule our relationship with God but also most often our relationship with each other.  And recently I discovered this is how things really are.  I peered into a resume of an ex-seminarians applying for a job and there written are all the awards, all the recognitions and it seems all the good he has done. And they explained to me that that is the reason why it is important to always give certificates for an…

the holy spirit gives us more problems: Pentecost B

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Today is the feast of the Pentecost, the feast where we commemorate the coming down of the Holy Spirit upon our Lady and the Apostles.  Some will see in this feast the wonderful ending to the story of Jesus, the culmination of a life’s work and mission.  Some will look at it with a sigh of relief saying, “thank you Holy Spirit, now we can breathe easy, now we are more secure, now we are comforted, now we can be comfortable.”  But is it really?  You see if you look at the bible more closely, whenever the Holy Spirit comes, he comes not to solve our problems but to create them.  Let me repeat that in case you missed it.  The Holy Spirit did not come to solve our problems, but the Holy Spirit come to create them.