Showing posts from August, 2011

st. rose of lima

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Rose of Lima, secondary patroness of the Philippines. The primary patroness of the Philippines is Mary in her Immaculate Conception, but the secondary patroness is St. Rose of Lima.
St. Rose was born in Lima, Peru in the year 1586. She is the contemporary and friend of St. Martin de Porres, St. John Macias and and San Toribio de Mongrovejo - all of them from Lima, Peru. When I was younger St. Rose was one of those saints whom I came to know of. And I remember quite fondly now, that time when my grandmother told me her story. Actually I forgot everything she told me except the fact that she came to be called Rose because of her beauty, a beauty she would later see as an obstacle in her desire to love and serve God. And so, she one day got some pepper and lye and rubbed these on her face to make her less beautiful. That’s all I can remember actually from the stories of my grandmother. Later my knowledge of her would be augmented by reading her…

the holder of the keys

I would like to reflect on the consequences of holding the keys, the consequence of binding and losing in the formation of seminarians, and eventually in our ordination as priests.
The key symbolizes authority. He who holds the key, is given the authority; he has the power of the keys.
This authority does not come from anyone else but from God. In the mass this morning we heard from our first reading God taking away the kingship from Shebnah and giving this to Eliakim saying, on his shoulder I will put the keys of the House of David - when he opens, no one shall shut; when he shuts, no one shall open. The same is true with Peter. Jesus gives the keys to Peter so that whatever he binds on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever he sets loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." A position of authority in the church comes from God.
What then is its implication to our seminary formation and to your desire to become priests? First, to become a priest one is to be called …

what does God want?

Sometimes, especially on a Sunday like this, you will find yourself grasping for answers to questions like, why do I have to go to church, I can pray anywhere I like, after all God is everywhere, isn’t he? Now how do you answer that? Or try answering questions like this, why do I have to attend mass and receive holy communion? I can very well commune with God in the beach, or in a quiet place by myself? Why do I have to go to church? Again, how do we answer that?
Or try these questions you often hear nowadays, Why do I have to go to a priest and confess my sins in order to receive God’s forgiveness? Why can’t I go to Jesus directly? Why does a priest stand between God and me? Isn’t the Church sticking its nose into my private, personal relationship with God? Now how do we answer these questions?
The problem with these questions is about their direction. All of these questions basically asks, what do we want to do in order to get to God. What do we want to do in order that we …

assumption: a year after

After that grand day last year, exactly a day from now, and after the scuffle that immediately followed it, which was never anyone’s idea of the fruit of a hundred years, I have to tell you frankly that I dreaded the coming of this day. For one I may be asked to say mass on this day and be forced to leave the security of standing on the sidelines during the scuffle. But as it is, and as it was before this, in all our annual gatherings, I always find myself with no reason believable enough to justify my absence. So now the day of dread has finally come upon me and I have nowhere else to turn to but the Lord. And so taking my cue from the Canaanite woman I now plunge myself on the feet of Jesus entreating him, Lord have mercy on me, my daughters are tormented by demons.(There is a footnote attached to this last statement and it says here, daughters should also include old boys as well, pro and con.)
I know there is still some uneasiness in most of us in talking about this, an uneasi…

roi: what's in it for us?

What’s in it for us? What do I get in return? In business you have what you call your ROI, your return on investment. Good economics require that your gain should yield more than your capital investment. You do not invest on something that yields a negative return rather you invest on something that will not only give you a positive return but also the highest return. Kon patas man lang ano gid da ang imo. Indi makabayad sa imo pangabudlay. In making an investment you should be conscious and aware of the return on investment or the ROI.
Years back I wanted to save a seminarian who had lost his desire for the priesthood. He was going out on a date for valentine’s day. So I offered him a deal. I told him, if you forgo the date, I would treat you to a restaurant of your choice. I won, or so I thought. He let go of the date on Valentine’s Day and so I treated him out in a restaurant which cost me to shelve out a thousand pesos. This only proves my theory that the shortest way to a seminar…


Let me start by quoting from Pope Benedict’s sermon in a gathering with seminarians. He said, “It is right for the seminarians to remember that if the church demands much from them it is because they are to care for those whom Christ ransomed at such a high price.” You are to care for those whom Christ ransomed at such a high price, the price which was his own life. This is where our theme panaw, baligya, bakal get its meaning. This the raison d’être of seminary formation and the process one has to undergo to become a minister of the church. Why do I have to go through the process of panaw, baligya, bakal in my seminary formation? Why do I have to go through the cutting off, the leaving behind, and the sacrificing? Because you are to care for those whom Christ ransomed at such a high price. Why can’t I be allowed to do what I want like the rest of the young people my age? Why can’t they just let me be? Why do I always have to think of the community above my own, why do I have…

to become a child again

Do you believe that everything in us is grace? Do you believe that everything that happens to us is an opportunity for grace? If you do then you will also agree with me when I call sickness a grace and old age as a grace from God. So we call them the grace of old age, the grace of senility, the grace of sickness, the grace of being hospitalized, the grace of being confined to the care of a caregiver, the grace of being left alone? I believe it would take us a leap of faith to do so.
This is my reflection while I was contemplating the situation of our old priests right in front of the St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary in a house which we call home sweet home.
When I was young (and I am not that old), I used to go to the Home sweet Home. There were at least 5 priests there. One was a regular confessor of seminarians so I tried him once. When I confessed my sins to him he told me to get out of the seminary and for my penance, 3 via crucis. I could not remember now what I confessed to …

fear leads to anger

I already missed the star wars saga and one of the characters I truly like is Yoda with his brand of English which many now call Yoda-Speak or Yodish. Try this for example, the Chosen One, the boy may be. Nevertheless, grave danger I fear in his training; or try this, Named must your fear be, before banish it you can. You must have also remembered the misgivings of Yoda in accepting and training Anakin to become a Jedi knight. Yoda said, Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.
Fear brings anger and anger breeds hate and hate brings suffering. There is so much truth in this statement for indeed when one is fearful, one becomes angry and this anger coming from that fear breeds hatred and from hatred comes a lot of suffering.
I hate dogs not for anything but because I am afraid of them. I was bitten once by a dog I tried to feed, and I never learned to climb a tree not until dogs ran after me. My hatred came from an…

one at a time

The miracle of the multiplication of the five loaves and two fishes is the only miracle that is recorded in all four gospels. It was therefore a miracle well remembered, a miracle which all four writers of the gospel remembered quite well. For how can one forget such miracle - people ate the bread and the fish, they saw where these came from - from five loaves and two fishes, and there were 5 thousand men who can attest to this.
I remember also this story the first time it was narrated to us by my grandmother. In fact I remember even the little details not mentioned in this narrative from Matthew. In the gospel of John for example a little boy was mentioned as the source of the bread and fish. In fact outside the bible there was a legend circulating around about the story of this boy.

success without a successor is failure 2

Again I would like to take this opportunity to thank the parishioners of Jaro for the 9 mass collections that you have given to the St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary last May 29, the fifth Sunday for the month of May, which you designated as Seminary Sunday. The collection amounted to a hundred thousand pesos and we have used this amount as a reserve for our scholarship program starting school year 2012-2013. We have purposely called this program the Eskolar sang Kristianong Katilingban (EKK) because it is a joint scholarship program participated by members of the Christian communities in our parishes beginning with the parish priests (who will contribute PhP1,000.00 per month for 12 months); the religious organizations of the parish (who will contribute PhP1,500.00 per month for 12 months); the family of the scholar (PhP500.00 per month for 12 months); the seminary benefactors (who will contribute PhP2,000.00 per month for 12 months); and lastly, a foundation who will shoulder the bulk …

success is relative

Success is relative, they say, success is relative, because the more successful you are, the more relatives you have. It is an observable human behavior that people affiliate themselves more closely to successful people. If you won’t believe me, try winning the lotto today, and tomorrow you will discover to your surprise that you have so many relatives, parientes.
This particular attitude is also related to other human reactions to success. When a person becomes successful, people will begin to realize the early signs that brought about the success. People will begin to recollect the signs early on that portend the triumph, signs that show that the success was really meant to be.

life is a choice

There was a man one time who had a huge block of marble. His friend asked him what he intended to do with it, and he said that he was going to sculptor an elephant. 'But you are not a sculptor', said his friend. 'I know that, he said, but I thought if I chisel off every¬thing that doesn't look like an elephant, I might succeed.'
If we are searching for the pearl of great price, it might be good to ask, how does the pearl of great price look like? How does it differ from the other pearls that I may see? If we are looking for a buried treasure, what does this treasure consist of? How does this treasure differ from the other buried treasures that I may run across? Indeed in searching for something, it is necessary to have some idea of what it looks like! It is necessary to know what we are looking for. Today we go via negativa - to know what it is not, so that like the sculptor in the story we may succeed in sculpting an elephant by chiselling off from the stone ever…