From the richness of today’s liturgical readings, let me dwell on just two points for our reflection.
In the first reading, God instructed Samuel to go to the house of Jesse and anoint one of his sons whom he had chosen to be king of Israel. As each of the sons was introduced to the prophet, beginning with the eldest, Samuel anticipated that such one would be God’s choice. But God did not choose any of them except David, the smallest and the youngest. The Lord told Samuel: “Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature… Not as man sees does God see because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart."
Many times, I have been approached by people (mostly young people) who are bothered by doubts about their faith. They feel guilty when they start questioning God and his existence. Much as they want to hold on to their faith, they find their questions seemingly valid and their doubts disturbingly convincing.
I respond by telling them not to feel guilty about their doubts and to allow their questions to lead them to find the answer. Why have they suddenly become critical of their belief and of the teachings of Jesus and the Church? I explain by saying that since childhood, they were provided with ready answers by their parents, elders, priests and teachers. Now that they have matured and have a mind of their own, they become critical and want answers that come, not from what others ...
I’ve never been in so many airports in 72 hours than last weekend when I attended a wedding in Central Visayas and a diamond jubilee of a Rotary Club in Mindanao, a day after the other.
First stop was Panglao, Bohol, for the wedding of Alvin Mosquisa and Mariane Gamboa last Friday. The bride is the only daughter of former PNP Chief Archie Gamboa and Twinkle who happens to be my classmate as incoming District Governor of Rotary District 3860.
The captivating bride, Mariane Gamboa with parents, Archie and Twinkle.
The St. Augustine Church with its iconic ceiling mural.*
Newly-weds Alvin and Mariane Mosquisa with their parents.*
Of course it was heightened security at the Tagbilaran airport when we landed because Chief PNP Rodolfo Azurin and Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Ro...
Now and then we experience moments when God feels so close and so real. They don’t have to be extraordinary events like the apparitions or visions of the saints. They can occur during an ordinary or banal activity, like the time when I was traveling in a bus one early morning. While praying the Lauds from my breviary, I looked out the window and was surprised to see the usual country scenery in its extraordinary beauty and brightness as if for the first time. I was then reciting the verse from the invitatory psalm 95, “The Lord is God, the mighty God, the great king over all the gods. He holds in his hand the depths of the earth and the highest mountains as well.”
I suddenly felt the whole creation was in the warm and loving hands of God, including myself. I never felt his presence...
Temptation is real. It is all around us. It is within us. It hits everyone and spares no one, neither us humans who are made from clay (first reading) nor the Son of God (gospel). Today’s readings present two models in confronting temptation: the Old Adam who succumbs and the New Adam (Jesus) who is victorious.
One lesson we can get from the readings is not to enter into any discussion with the tempter. The devil is a liar, and it is futile to argue with a liar. Moreover, the devil is often smarter than us. Eve entertained the devil, and she was duped. Jesus did not engage with the devil. He simply did two things: he responded with the word of God, and he sent him away.
Here we see that the word of God is a great weapon against temptation. How familiar are we with God’s word? Do...
MassKara Festival national chair Jojie Dingcong celebrated his nth birthday over the weekend at Okura Manila in Resorts World, hosted by his dear friends, Megaworld’s Kevin Tan and wife, Michelle.
Considering Jojie’s stature as an image-builder of stars and politicians, the birthday celebration was quite intimate with just close friends in attendance, led by First Lady Liza Araneta Marcos and a group of friends from Bacolod including Mayor Albee Benitez and wife, Nikki.
Margrey Sy, Chole Chua, First Lady Liza Marcos, Jannette Gonzaga and Small Laude.*
Bacolod’s First Lady, Nikki Benitez, Mayor Javi Benitez, actress Sue Ramirez and birthday celebrator, Jojie Dingcong.*
Transportation magnate Leo Ray Yanson, former Ilocos Sur Governor Chavit Singson...
(Pilgrims of Peace Lenten Statement)
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Matthew 5:6)
Photo from Bishop Alminaza FB
As we prepare ourselves for this year's Lenten journey, the suffering of the poor weighs upon our hearts. Amidst soaring inflation, it seems impossible for most families to make ends meet. Hunger and deprivation are further exacerbated through extensive joblessness and underemployment in urban areas as well as landlessness for the rural poor. Perhaps, this year, our Lenten journey can help us better understand the hunger and thirst of the Filipino people.
We long for righteousness: we look for how to build peace based on justice. This is so very important in our archipelago, where civil discontent and war pulses th...
All three readings today remind us of God’s call for everyone to be holy. “Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.” (first reading) “The temple of God, which you are, is holy.” (second reading) “So, be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." (gospel)
Inspiring as it may be, the call to be holy and perfect like our heavenly Father is equally daunting. Is it really possible? How can we be holy and perfect like God? Yet this is what Jesus clearly tells us. So, what does he mean?
The first reading tells us the reason why God calls us to be holy – because he is holy. He is our Father and we are his children. “Like father, like son,” we often say. A true child bears the features of his father.
The gospel gives us an insight on what it means to be holy and perfect li...
I’ve heard of V&W pastries before from my sister in Manila who asked me to bring her some on one of my trips there.
She was insisting it was from Bacolod as the friend who made her try it said it was gifted by someone from here. Of course, I never brought her any as I had no idea what she was talking about until last Thursday when my friend, Minnie Chua, invited us to have lunch there.
Truth is, Minnie invited Anne Tiongco and Cathy de Mesa, VMC colleagues who are based in Manila but who were in town for the week. Anne then invited me, so in effect I was really a lunch crasher who had a good time with old friends, especially Cathy whom I had not seen since the pandemic lockdown.
Victoria Zayco and William Espina of V&W.*
We had a nice time playing catch-up to talk ...
We continue our reading of the Sermon on the Mount, which we started two Sundays ago. Once again, Jesus shocks his listeners when, this time, he speaks of the Torah (Law) of Moses and the teachings of the prophets and interprets them in a surprisingly unconventional way.
The Torah is particularly sacred and dear to the people of Israel, not only because it contains the Ten Commandments of God, but also because it distinctively marks them as a special people. “For what great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him? Or what great nation has statutes and ordinances that are as just as this whole law which I am setting before you today?” (Dt 4:7-8) The Law is Isreal’s greatest pride because no other people has received direc...