Friday, December 4, 2009

"Do not TELL anybody..."

I wrote the following reflection for my My 3rd Ordination Anniversary Mass last December 5, 2008. The Gospel was from Mt 9: 27-31.


It is rather surprising to note that Jesus did not want the healed men to talk about the healing that they received. First of all, Jesus would need all the mileage that he could gain. His was a herculean mission of establishing the Kingdom of God, and he had only three years to do it. So, he is supposed to need all the exposure he could get. If those healed would speak about their healing, then his popularity would grow and as more people will be interested with him, more people would flock to him, and he would have opportunity to preach to them. Second, it was almost impossible for the two healed men to keep the healing to themselves – after all, they used to be blind but now can see. So how could they hide the fact that they had been healed miraculously? Likewise, how could they keep to themselves the joy of being healed?

I would like to believe though, that Jesus had reasons to do so. First, if we look closely at Jesus, we find that he did not want the men to talk about him healing them because he did not want to promote himself. He wanted to promote the work of the Father. He wanted to fulfill and promote the will of the Father, not himself as a wonder worker. For me as a priest, as I celebrate my anniversary, I am reminded that I am a priest not for myself but for him who called me to share in his mission. I have to be cautious that in my ministry, I do not point to myself, rather, that I should point to Christ. I am reminded not to seek praises for myself, to work and minister not for recognition or acceptance. I have to bear in mind, and always be conscious that all that I do should never be for me, but for the greater glory of God.

The same challenge is also for us. Let us do good things, not to seek our own glory. We do good because somebody has been so good to us, and we do good in response to this goodness. This leads us to our second reason as to why it was surprising for Jesus to have forbidden the men to spread the news about their healing.

Second, Jesus did not want the men to speak about their healing, I believe, is because he knew that there is something more that they should do, more than just spreading the word of their healing, and this is that they be grateful to him who healed them, by a life worthy of the gift that they have received. There was a young man who was drowning at the river. An elderly man jumped into the water and saved him. The young man was so thankful to the elderly man. He asked him how he could thank him. He could give him some cash, since his parents were rich. The elderly man refused. He told the young man, “Live your life well, and that would be enough to thank me. In that way, you prove that your life is worth saving.” Jesus wanted the men not only to talk about their gratitude, he wanted them to live their gratitude.

For me, this is a reminder that I have to live my priesthood right and fully, if I were to be truly grateful to God for this gift. It is not enough for me to mouth gratitude if I do not take care of my priesthood, and do my best to be faithful, to struggle to be faithful.

For us all, this is a reminder to live grateful lives – we have received so much, and the best thanksgiving we could give to our donor is a life that is well lived.

Wholeheartedly Thankful for Four Years

Today, I am four years old as a priest (December 5, 2005-2009). I was ordained priest by Archbishop Salgado four years ago at the San Juan de Sahagun Parish Church in Candon City, Ilocos Sur, Philippines for the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia.

Four years of grace.
Four years of blessing.
Four years of providence.

Four years of seeking.
Four years of hoping.
Four years of trusting.

Four years of striving.
Four years of giving.
Four years of growing.

Four years of service.
Four years of prayer.
Four years of witness.

Four years of joy.
Four years of inner peace.
Four years of fulfillment.

Four years of discipleship.
Four years of surrender.
Four years of priesthood.

For all that has been Lord, thank you.
For all that will be, your will be done.
I have not been worthy, never will be.
But I trust in your grace and mercy.
Please make me more and more, a shepherd after your own heart.


(I am celebrating a thanksgiving mass. All of my life and priesthood had been grace and blessing. I have nothing I can claim as my own, except for my shortcomings, which God has even made into avenues for grace through repentace and reform. I have everything else to thank God for. I will remember all who have been part of my life and priesthood with gratitude to God who has so richly blessed me with their persons. Foremost, I thank God for my Parents, Brothers and Sisters and the rest of the Family, Relatives and Friends through whom I encounter God, the Loving and Faithful most concretely. I thank God for Archbishop Ernesto Salgado, who ordained me a priest, and also for his fatherly concern for and confidence in his most unworthy priest. I thank God for the Presbyterium of Nueva Segovia with whom I share not only the priesthood of Christ for the Archdiocese, but with whom I share communion of life and mission. I pray for the faithful of the Archdiocese that we may continue on our journey towards the fullness of life. I especially pray for my ordination class whose friendship and ministry are an inspiration. I pray for the ICST community that we may be living traditions of integral priestly formation. I pray for all whom God has graciously deigned their lives to intersect and enrich my own. I pray for all of God’s people, for whom through God’s grace and mercy, I am a priest, servant, shepherd.)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Chancery Reminders: December

REMINDERS FROM THE CHANCERY
MONTH OF DECEMBER 2009

1, Tuesday: Advent Weekday (1), VIOLET

LET US PRAY FOR:
REV. DAVID WILLIAM ANTONIO (ORDINATION, 1988)
REV. MARLON BELMONTE (ORDINATION, 2003)

2, Wednesday: Advent Weekday (1), VIOLET

ARCHBISHOP’S SCHEDULE:
Ilocano Bible Centennial Celebration
Baguio City

3, Thursday: St. Francis Xavier, priest. WHITE.

PATRONAL FEAST:
St. Francis Xavier Parish, Lungog, I. Sur
9 AM - Concelebrated Mass

LET US PRAY FOR:
REV. REYNALDO REBEBES (BIRTHDAY, 1972)

4, Friday: Advent Weekday (1), VIOLET or m of St. John Damascene, priest, religious and doctor, WHITE.

LET US PRAY FOR:
REV. CARLITO FERIA (ORDINATION, 2001)
REV. RUFO V. ABAYA (ORDINATION, 2006)
REV. CRISTETO A. CORTEZ (ORDINATION, 2006)

5, Saturday: Advent Weekday (1) VIOLET.

Archbishop’s Schedule:
St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral, Vigan City
9 AM – Confirmation

NECROLOGY:
1781 Fr. Fernando Balensuela
1857 Fr. Damaso Lazo

LET US PRAY FOR:
REV. DANILO MARTINEZ (ORDINATION, 2003)
REV. WILLIE JONES DUCUSIN (ORDINATION, 2005)

6, Sunday : + SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT. VIOLET

SPECIAL COLLECTION: to be made in all masses for ICST

Archbishop’s Schedule:
AWRIS Christmas Gathering, Abbey Chapel, Fatima, Vigan City
11AM - Holy Mass

LET US PRAY FOR:
REV. REX RILVERIA (ORDINATION, 2001)
REV. MICHAEL C. TANACIO (ORDINATION, 2006)

7, Monday: St. Ambrose, bishop and doctor. WHITE

LET US PRAY FOR:
REV. ERWIN E. ECHALAS (BIRTHDAY, 1981)
REV. ERNESTO JUAREZ, JR. (ORDINATION, 2005)

8, Tuesday: SOLEMNITY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY. PRINCIPAL PATRONESS OF THE PHILIPPINES. WHITE.

PATRONAL FEAST:
Immaculate Conception Parish, Sta. Cruz, I. Sur
8:30 AM - Concelebrated Mass

Immaculate Conception Parish, Quirino, I. Sur
4 PM - Concelebrated Mass

NECROLOGY:
1837 Bishop Francisco Alban, OP

9, Wednesday: Advent Weekday (2), VIOLET or St. Juan Diego, WHITE.

Clergy Advent Recollection - Aula de Nuestra Señora de Caridad
Archbishop’s Residence Compound, Vigan City

LET US PRAY FOR:
REV. GLENDINO RAGSAG (ORDINATION, 1997)

NECROLOGY:
1856, Fr. Saturnino Mateo
1950, Fr. Andres Alcayaga
1983, Msgr. Osmundo Calip

10, Thursday: Advent Weekday (2), VIOLET.

LET US PRAY FOR:
REV. MELCHOR REONAL (ORDINATION, 2003)
REV. RAMELLE J. RIGUNAY (ORDINATION, 2007)

11, Friday: Advent Weekday (2), VIOLET or m of St. Damasus I, pope, WHITE.
LET US PRAY FOR:
REV. ARNEL NOEL RAMOS (BIRTHDAY, 1970)
REV. RAYMUND ANCHETA (ORDINATION, 2001)

12, Saturday: Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Philippines. WHITE.

PATRONAL FEAST:
Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Sevilla, Sta. Cruz, I. Sur
9 AM - Concelebrated Mass

13, Sunday: + THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT. VIOLET OR ROSE.

SPECIAL COLLECTION: to be made in all masses for St. Peter’s Pence

PATRONAL FEAST:
St. Lucy Parish, Sta. Lucia, I. Sur
8:30 AM - Concelebrated Mass

St. Lucy Parish, Narvacan, I. Sur
4 PM - Concelebrated Mass

14, Monday: St. John of the Cross, priest and doctor. WHITE.

LET US PRAY FOR:
REV. SHERWIN AQUINO (ORDINATION, 2005)
REV. BERNARDO GONZALES (ORDINATION, 2005)
REV. LESTER JOSEPH PLANA (ORDINATION, 2005)

15, Tuesday: Advent Weekday (3). VIOLET.

LET US PRAY FOR:
REV. MARIO RAQUEPO (ORDINATION, 1979)
REV. ANTONIO RECLUSADO (BIRTHDAY, 1961; ORDINATION, 1987)

NECROLOGY:
1846 Fr. Egidio Abaya

AGUINALDO MASSES

16, Wednesday: Advent Weekday (3). VIOLET.
National Youth Day.

SPECIAL COLLECTION:
1st Misa de Gallo collection for IYM

NECROLOGY:
1807 Fr. Bernardo Montenegro
1814 Bishop Cayetano Pallas, OP

17, Thursday: Advent Weekday (3). VIOLET.

LET US PRAY FOR:
REV. ANTHONY ROSARIO (ORDINATION,1990)
REV. CONSTATINO ATINAJA, JR. (ORDINATION, 1994)

18, Friday: Advent Weekday (3). VIOLET.

LET US PRAY FOR:
REV. RENE ROSABIA(ORDINATION, 1991)
REV. PETER DUMAG (ORDINATION, 1992)
REV. REAN FREDERICK ENRIQUEZ (ORDINATION, 1993)
REV. RONILO VILLA (ORDINATION, 1995)

19, Saturday: Advent Weekday (3). VIOLET.

LET US PRAY FOR:
REV. GERARDO ISABELO ANTOLIN (ORDINATION, 1990)
REV. JACK CABATU (ORDINATION, 1992)
REV. FLORENTINO ESCALONA (ORDINATION, 1994)

20, Sunday: + FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT. VIOLET

LET US PRAY FOR:
REV. ARTHUR AMIAN (ORDINATION, 1989)
REV. RAYMUND ELLORIN (ORDINATION, 1991)

21, Monday: Advent Weekday (4). VIOLET, or m of St. Peter Canisius, priest and doctor, WHITE.

LET US PRAY FOR:
REV. VIRGILIO CABACCANG (BIRTHDAY,1955)
REV. FERDINAND RAGASA (ORDINATION, 1990)
REV. COSMENIO ROSIMO, JR. (ORDINATION, 1991)
REV. MAR G. BARROGA (ORDINATION, 2002)

NECROLOGY:
1806 Fr. Christoval de Quintos
1992 Fr. Jose Tongson

22, Tuesday: Advent Weekday (4). VIOLET.

LET US PRAY FOR:
REV. FELIX COSTALES (ORDINATION, 1989)
REV. JERRY AVISA (ORDINATION, 1992)

23, Wednesday: Advent Weekday (4). VIOLET.

LET US PRAY FOR
OUR ARCHBISHOP, THE MOST REV. ERNESTO SALGADO (PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION, 1961)
REV. ALBERT MANALO (ORDINATION, 1961)

24, Thursday: Advent Weekday (4). VIOLET.

Archbishop’s Schedule:
St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral, Vigan City
12 MN - Midnight Mass

LET US PRAY FOR:
REV. GERMAN SOMERA (BIRTHDAY, 1969)

CHRISTMAS SEASON

25, Friday: + CHRISTMAS, SOLEMNITY OF THE LORD’S BIRTH. WHITE

Archbishop’s Schedule:
St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral, Vigan City
9 AM – Holy Mass

26, Saturday: Stephen, First Martyr. RED.

PATRONAL FEAST:
St. Stephen Proto-Martyr Parish, San Esteban, I. Sur.
9 AM – Concelebrated Mass

LET US PRAY FOR:
REV. CONSTANTINO ATINAJA, JR. (BIRTHDAY, 1968)

27, Sunday: +FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY, WHITE.

Archbishop’s Schedule:
Parents of Priests’ Christmas Gathering
Aula de Nuestra Señora de Caridad
Archbishop’s Residence Compound, Vigan City
11 AM – Holy Mass

LET US PRAY FOR:
REV. ETHEL AGAMATA (ORDINATION, 1989)

28, Monday: The Holy Innocents. RED.

Archbishop’s Schedule:
9 AM – Confirmation
Brgy. Panay, Magsingal, Ilocos Sur

29, Tuesday: FIFTH DAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF CHRISTMAS or m of St. Thomas Becket, bishop and martyr. WHITE.

LET US PRAY FOR:
REV. DAVID WILLIAM ANTONIO (BIRTHDAY, 1963)

30, Wednesday: SIXTH DAY IN THE OCTAVE OF CHRISTMAS, WHITE.

Archbishop’s Schedule:
Santiago Town Fiesta
7:30 AM – Holy Mass

31, Thursday: SEVENTH DAY IN THE OCTAVE OF CHRISTMAS or m of St. Sylvester I, pope. WHITE.

Archbishop’s Schedule:
St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral, Vigan City
9:30 PM – Holy Mass

LET US PRAY FOR OUR CONFRERE:
REV. GLENDINO RAGSAG (BIRTHDAY, 1969)

NECROLOGY:
1803 Bishop Agustin Pedro Blaquier, OP

Activities for JANUARY 2010:

January 4-5: Clergy New Year’s Gathering, Stella Maris, Pug-os, Cabugao, I. Sur
January 12: 54th Canonical Coronation of Apo Caridad, Bantay, I. Sur
January 15: Patronal Feast of Most Holy Name of Jesus Parish, Burgos, I. Sur
January 17: Patronal Feast of Holy Child of Prague Parish, Cervantes, I. Sur
January 23: Patronal Feast of St. Ildefonsus Parish, San Ildefonso I. Sur
January 25: Patronal Feast of Conversion of St. Paul, Vigan City
January 25-29: 2nd National Congress of the Clergy, Manila

Thursday, October 29, 2009

REMINDERS FROM THE CHANCERY

NOVEMBER 2009

1 - Sunday: † SOLEMNITY OF ALL SAINTS. WHITE.

Archbishop’s Schedule:
5PM - Holy Mass
Simbaan a Bassit (Vigan Camposanto), Vigan City

NECROLOGY:
1981 Archbishop Mariano Madriaga

Let us pray for:
Rev.Segundino Cortez (Birthday, 1969)

2 - Monday: †COMMEMORATION OF ALL THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED. VIOLET OR WHITE.


NECROLOGY:
1973 Fr. Francisco Milan

3 - Tuesday: 31st Week, Ordinary Time, GREEN or m of St. Martin de Porres, Religious. WHITE.

NECROLOGY:
1794 Fr. Manuel Baza

4 - Wednesday: St. Charles Borromeo, bishop. WHITE.

5 - Thursday: 31st Week, Ordinary Time. GREEN.

9AM: EPISCOPAL VICARS’ MEETING, Arzobispado de Nueva Segovia, Vigan City

NECROLOGY:
1986 Fr. Jose Lazo

6 - Friday: 31st Week, Ordinary Time. GREEN.

7 - Saturday: 31st Week, Ordinary Time. GREEN or m of the BVM on Saturday, WHITE.

Let us pray for:
Rev. Gary Noel Formoso (Ordination, 1997)

8 - Sunday: †THIRTY SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME. GREEN.

NECROLOGY:
2001 Fr. Teodorico Rivera

Let us pray for:
Rev. Godofredo Claudio (Birthday, 1957)
Rev. Raymund Ellorin (Birthday, 1965)
Rev. Arwin Romulo Rebollido (Birthday, 1975)

9 - Monday: †Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica. WHITE

Nov. 9 – 10: ANNUAL MEETING OF NORTHERN LUZON BISHOPS, ICST, Vigan City

10 - Tuesday: St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor. WHITE.

Regular Schedule:
Vicarial Meeting

Let us pray for:
Rev. Avelino Sipin (Birthday, 1931)

11 - Wednesday: St. Martin of Tours, Bishop. WHITE.

PATRONAL FEAST:
8:30 AM - Misa Concelebrada
Our Lady of Hope Parish, Caoayan, Ilocos Sur

NECROLOGY:
1980 Fr. Magdaleno Estonillo
1779 Bishop Miguel Garcia de San Esteban, OP
1986 Fr. Patricio Monis

Let us pray for:
Rev. Magdaleno Ruelos (Birthday, 1947)

12 - Thursday: St. Josaphat, bishop and martyr. WHITE.

NECROLOGY:
1751 Bishop-elect Juan de Arechedera, OP

Let us pray for:
Rev. Reynaldo Rebebes (Ordination, 1999)

13 - Friday: 32nd Week, Ordinary Time. GREEN.

NECROLOGY:
1896 Fr. Vicente Rosario

14 - Saturday: 32nd Week, Ordinary Time, GREEN or m of the BVM on Saturday, WHITE.

15 - Sunday: †THIRTY THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME. GREEN.

Archbishop’s Schedule:
9:30 AM – Mass for Couples for Christ
Immaculate Conception Parish, Sta. Cruz, I. Sur

16 - Monday: : 33rd Week, Ordinary Time. GreeN.

November 16 - 17: Priests’ Assembly

17 - Tuesday: St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious. WHITE.

NECROLOGY:
1803 Fr. Fermin de Messa

Let us pray for:
Rev. PETER JOE Dagsi (Ordination, 1973)

18 - Wednesday: 33rd Week, Ordinary Time, GreeN or m of the Dedication of the Churches of Sts. Peter and Paul, WHITE.

NECROLOGY:
1884 Fr. Aniceto de los Reyes

Let us pray for:
Rev. Randy Val Dizon (Ordination, 2003)

19 - Thursday: 33rd Week, Ordinary Time. Green.

20 - Friday: 33rd Week, Ordinary Time. Green.

Let us pray for:
Rev. Cristeto A.Cortez (Birthday, 1977)
Rev. Moises Andrada (Ordination, 2003)

21 - Saturday: Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. WHITE.

NECROLOGY:
1884 Fr. Fulgencio Bonifacio

Let us pray for:
Rev. Albert Rabe (Birthday, 1958)

22 - Sunday: †SOLEMNITY OF CHRIST THE KING. WHITE

SPECIAL COLLECTION:
to be made in all masses for NS Clergy Hospitalization Fund.

PATRONAL FEAST:
8:30 AM – Misa Concelebrada
Christ the King Parish, Paing, Bantay, I. Sur

ARCHDIOCESAN CHRIST THE KING CELEBRATION
1:30 PM – Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Sevilla, Sta. Cruz, Ilocos Sur

NOVEMBER 21 – 22
MISYON - KABATAAN (Youth Day 2008)
Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Sevilla, Sta. Cruz, Ilocos Sur

Let us pray for our Archbishop, The Most Rev. Ernesto Salgado (Birthday, 1936)

NECROLOGY:
1998 Msgr. Venancio Acas

23 - Monday: 34th Week, Ordinary Time, Green or m of St. Clement I, Pope and Martyr, RED or m of St. Columban, Abbot. WHITE.

24 - Tuesday: St. Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest and Companions, Martyr. RED.

NECROLOGY:
1703 Fr. Pedro Ponce

Let us pray for:
Rev. Magdaleno Ruelos, Jr. (Ordination, 1973)
Rev. Arwin Romulo Rebollido (Ordination, 2003)

25 - Wednesday: 34th Week, Ordinary Time, Green or m of St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr. RED.

PATRONAL FEAST:
8 AM – Misa Concelebrada
St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish, Santa Catalina, Ilocos Sur

4:30 PM – Misa Concelebrada
St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish, Santa, Ilocos Sur

26 - Thursday: 34th Week, Ordinary Time. Green

27 - Friday: 34th Week, Ordinary Time. Green

Let us pray for:
Rev. Edgar Serrano (Ordination, 1987)

28 - Saturday: 34th Week, Ordinary Time, Green or m of the BVM on Saturday, WHITE.

Archbishop’s Schedule:
9 AM - Confirmation
Conversion of St. Augustine Parish, Tagudin, I. Sur

3 PM - Confirmation
St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish, Sta. Catalina, I. Sur

NECROLOGY:
1757 Bishop Juan de la Fuente Yepes
1843 Fr. Pantaleon Joseph Ceinfuego
1985 Fr. Jose Mabutas

Let us pray for:
Rev. Gaudelio Donato (Ordination, 1987)

29 - Sunday: + FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT. VIOLET
Let us pray for: Rev. Carlito Feria (Birthday, 1975)

30 - Monday: ST. ANDREW THE APOSTLE. Red

PATRONAL FEAST:
St. Andrew the Apostle Parish, Suyo, Ilocos Sur
9 AM - Misa Concelebrada

Let us pray for:
Rev. Avelino Sipin (Ordination, 1956)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ang Bulag, Nakakakita at Mulat

Ika-tatlumpong Linggo ng Karaniwang Panahon (30th Sunday in OT, Year B, 2009)

1. Dumating si Jesus kasama ang kanyang mga alagad sa Jericho – pero hindi sila nanatili sa Jericho – gumayak sila at paalis na sila ng Jericho, patungo sila ng Jerusalem, patungo sa pagpapakasakit, pagkamatay at muling pagkabuhay ni Kristo

2. Mayroong isang bulag na nakaupo sa tabi ng daan na namamalimos – si Bartimeo (Anak ni Timeo). Narinig niyang naroon si Hesus na taga-Nazareth kaya sumigaw siya – “Hesus, Anak ni David, mahabag po kayo sa akin.”

a. Tumawag siya kay Hesus dahil siya ay may kailangan. At kailangang-kailangan niya ito. Kaya nga siya nagsusumigaw at ang kanyang pagsigaw ay may sinasabi – “mahabag po kayo sa akin” – “have PITY on me” (hindi lang awa, kundi habag)
b. Ganito rin po ba tayo? Kapag may kailangan tayo, talagang nagsusigaw tayo sa padarasal. Kapag may gusto tayong makamit, sunog kilay, banat buto talaga para makamit yung minimithi natin.

3. Pinagsabihan siya ng mga tao at pinatahimik

a. Yaong mga taong naroroon, sinusubukan nilang pakinggan ang mga sinasabi at itinuturo ni Hesus. Maraming tao kaya mahirap marinig, at sumabay pa itong bulag na ito na nagsusumigaw.
b. Pinatahimik ngayon nila si Bartimeo. Total, isa lang naman siyang bulag at namamalimos, akala nila hindi naman siya papansinin ni Hesus. Ang mas masaklap, ang pagpapapatahimik nila kay Bartimeo, ay para na ring pagpigil sa kanya upang makatagpo niya si Hesus.
c. Ganito rin po ba tayo? Sa ating buhay, mayroon po tayong mga taong isinasantabi? Hindi pinahahalagahan? Marahil dahil sa kanilang katayuan sa buhay, katandaan o kabataan, pinag-aralan, nakaraan o ano pa man. (People we take for granted – maybe because of their condition in life, status, past, age)
d. O ang mas masaklap, mayroon po ba tayong mga taong pinipigilang lumapit o mapalapit kay Hesus? Marahil dahil sa ating salita, o gawa? O dahil sa ating hindi sinasabi o ginagawa?

4. Kung gaano katindi ng pagpigil ng mga tao kay Bartimeo, lalo pa siyang nagsisisigaw

a. Hindi siya patatalo ng ganun ganun na lang. Gusto niya talagang mapansin ni Hesus.
b. Ganito rin po ba tayo? Itinutuloy pa rin ba nating maging mabuti at mabait kahit mahirap? Itinutuloy pa rin ba nating mapalapit kay Kristo kahit parang napakalayo niya? Itinutuloy pa rin ba nating magpakaKristiyano sa isip, sa salita at sa gawa kahit na maraming tumututol, pumipigil at nagpapahirap sa atin? Umaasa pa rin ba tayo sa pagkalinga nang Diyos kahit pakiramdam natin ay pinabayaan at kinalimutan na tayo? (Do we easily give up and quit? Do we keep on asking, hoping, trusting, loving?)

5. Narinig sya ni Hesus

a. Narinig siya ni Hesus. Tumigil siya sa paglalakad. Kung tumigil pala si Bartimeo sa pagtawag, maaring hindi siya narinig at nadaanan lang siya. Hindi pa niya nakakatagpo si Hesus. Hindi pa narinig, at mas lalong, hindi pa nakita. Pero ramdam ni Bartimeo na nariyan na si Hesus.
b. Ganito rin po ba tayo? Nakikilala po ba natin si Hesus kapag dumaraan siya sa ating buhay? Hinahayaan lang ba natin siyang dumaan? Madali lang hanapin si Hesus sa simbahan kung saan naroon ang Santisimo Sakramento. Pero naroon din si Hesus sa iba’t iba pang tao, bagay at pangyayari. Maari ngang iyong nagpapahirap sa iyo ay nagpaparating din ng mensahe ni Kristo – sumasamo na kaharapin mo siya bilang isang Kristiyano.

6. Pinatawag ni Hesus si Bartimeo. Ang mga taong kanina lang ay pumipigil sa kanya ay umaalalay na sa kanya at nagsasabing, “Lakasan mo ang iyong loob. Tumindig ka. Ipinapatawagka niya.”

a. Ganito rin ang ating pagkakakilala kay Hesus – ipinakilala siya sa atin ng ibang tao – magulang, pamilya, kamag-anak, kaibigan, guro, and simbahan, mga seminars, libro, palabas at marami pang ibang paraan. Marapat lang tayong magpasalamat sa mga taong nagpakilala sa atin sa Diyos, mga taong naglapit at naglalapit sa atin sa Diyos.
b. Tulad nila, ganon din po tayo? Marami ring nangangailangang marinig at makilala si Kristo. Tayong nakarinig at nakakilala kay Kristo ay tinatawag ding maging tagapagpakilala sa kanya. Mayroon bang hindi pa nalalapit kay Kristo sa ating pamilya? Mayroon bang hindi pa nakakarinig at nakakakilala kay Kristo sa ating pinagtatrabahuan? Ibinabahagi ba natin ang ating pagiging Kristyano? O mga tsismis lang tungkol sa ibang tao ang ibinabahagi natin?

7. Iwinaksi niya ang kanyang balabal, paluksong tumayo at lumapit kay Hesus.

May naaalala ba kayong nagmamadali ring lumapit din kay Hesus? Narinig natin sa Ebanghelio ng isang nakaraang lingo yaong mayamang lalaki na marahil ay nakadamit ng mamahalin at lumapit kay Hesus at nagtanong, “Ano ang maari kong gawin upang mapalapit ako sa Diyos?” Ngunit itong mayamang ito, umalis ng malungkot. Iba ang “ending” ng kwento natin ngayong araw na ito.

8. Tinanong siya ni Hesus, “Ano ang ibig mong gawin ko sa iyo?”

May naaalala ba kayong tinanong din ni Hesus ng ganito? Nuong nakaraang lingo, tinanong ito ni Hesus kay Santiago at Juan na humiling na sila ay gawin pangunahing ministro ni Hesus sa kanyang kaharian.

9. Ang sagot ni Bartimeo: “Guro, ibig ko po sanang makakita.” “Humayo ka; magaling ka na dahil sa iyong pananalig.”

a. Hiniling ni Bartimeo na siya ay makakita. At ang hinihingi niyang paningin ay hindi lamang pisikal na paningin, kundi ang pananaw ng pananampalataya – “not only physical sight, but the sight of faith”
b. Ganito rin po ba tayo? Hindi po tayo tulad ni Bartimeo na bulag sa pisikal na pagkabulay, ngunit maaring mayroon din tayong pagkabulag - maaring espitwal na pagkabulag. Bulag sa ating pagkakasala. Bulag sa pangangailangan ng ibang tao. Bulag sa pagsasamo ng ating kapwa. Bulag sa mga nangyayari sa kapaligiran. Bulag sa nararapat na patutunguhan ng ating buhay.
c. Ang sikreto daw po ng pagkakaroon ng katahimikan sa buhay ay yaong makita ang tunay na katuturan ng buhay. Kung hindi raw po nating iminumulat ang ating mga mata sa tunay na katuturan ng buhay, para tayong mga manok na naputulan ng ulo, patakbo-takbo, hindi alam kung saan patungo, hindi namamalayang paubos na pala ang kanyang dugo, hanggang bumagsak na lang itong wala nang buhay.

10. Nakakakita na si Bartimeo.

a. Ngayong nakakakita na si Bartimeo, nagkaaroon na hindi lang ng liwanag ang kanyang buhay, kundi nagkaaroon na rin ito ng direksiyon – ng patutunguhan. Ang sabi nila, ang hindi raw marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan, hindi makararating sa paroroonan. Ang maari naman nating idagdag, ang hindi mulat sa kanyang paroroonan ay walang kahihinatnan. “If we do not know our goal, we are going nowhere.”
b. Pagkatapos natanggap ni Bartimeo ang biyayang kanyang inaasam-asam, sumunod siya kay Hesus

Idulog natin sa Diyos ang ating mga pangangailan. Idulog din natin sa kanya ang ating mga pagkabulag. Hilingin nating pagtibayin niya tayo upang mamulat tayo, sa ating kapwa, sa ating sarili, sa ating patutunguhan, sa kanya na ating Diyos. At sa pagkamulat, sumunod kay Hesus – sa Jerusalem ng ating buhay kung saan mayroong araw-araw ng pagpapakasakit, pagkamatay, ngunit may inaasahang muling pagkabuhay. Amen.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

To help our Country

(click on the item for a larger image)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

What God has joined together...

Reflection
October 4, 2009
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Today’s readings take on a rather touchy theme – that of marriage and divorce. It is rather clear that God’s intention from the very beginning was for the marriage bond, proper only to the man and woman is to be absolute, permanent, exclusive and fruitful. Jesus Christ reaffirms this in the Gospel. It is on these among others that the Church teaching and discipline on marriage is rooted – in God’s will and the natural course of creation. It is on these basis, among others that the Church teaches that only the man and woman can marry, that their marriage is to be exclusive (it is between the two of them, no side trips) permanent and indissoluble (no return, no exchange), and whenever naturally possible, open to life (open to having children). It is on these among others that the Church teaches and enjoins married couples to be faithful to each other, and to be always open to life.

But more than the legal prescription, marriage is highly esteemed by the Church because it is more than a contract or a partnership. Marriage is a sacrament – a sign of an invisible grace that effects this grace as it signifies it. What is marriage a sacrament of? It is a sacrament of God’s love for us. It is a sign of Jesus’ love for his church. It shows us God’s unconditional, faithful, eternal love. A married couple’s self-giving love for each other is a sign of God’s love for us. Just as a spouse loves, accepts and gives himself or herself to his or her spouse, so God gave and gives himself to us.

But some marriages fall short of the sacrament – not because of a lack or deficiency of God’s grace, but failure on the part of one of the spouses, or both of them. The words of Jesus in the Gospel are strong – “what God has put together, let no man put asunder.” Let us take this on a positive note – “what God has put together, let every person nourish and nurture.”

These words speak to all of us today.

To senior married couples, your life, your years of fidelity to each other and to God, very often put to test, we know, is an encouragement for new and not so new struggling couples. That you hang on and continue to care for each other is a powerful witness of enduring love. An eight year old was asked what she thought love is. Her reply - "When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love."

To married couples having the time of their life with their children, happy and fulfilled in your marriage and family life, and young couples enjoying the newness of the grace of marriage, you are a living Gospel of hope. Remember what a wise person said – Happy marriages begin when we marry the ones we love, and they blossom when we love the ones we marry. Another said - All those "and they lived happily ever after" fairy tale endings need to be changed to "and they began the very hard work of making their marriages happy." Keep the Christian joy in the home even in difficult times. A four year old defined love in this words - "Love is what makes you smile when you're tired." And remember to be always the first to give, not demand. And parents, be a good example to your children, so that when they think of love, family, justice, fairness, compassion, they think about you.

To married couples undergoing struggles, try as much as possible to be the solution to the problem and not be the cause of it. It takes only one to ruin a marriage and two to sustain it. If both choose to be part of the solution and not the problem, there is hope for the marriage. I find it rather amusing that marriages in trouble are referred to as marriage on the rocks. Playing on the words, I would like to believe that a marriage will not be in trouble if the marriage is on The Rock – Jesus Christ. If the foundation of marriage is Jesus Christ, if the married life is lived according to the values of Jesus Christ, and if each of the spouses becomes Jesus Christ to each, both selflessly loving each other, no marriage will ever be on the rocks.

There are however cases when the marriage had not been there since the beginning. When spouses realize this, the Church helps them through the annulment process. Some would say that this is the Catholic equivalent of divorce. Very much different. Divorce is an attempt to dissolve a marriage that existed. Annulment recognizes that there was no marriage from the very beginning.

The words of the readings also speak thus to those planning to get married, or have set their eyes on the vocation of married life. To you who are planning to get married, even young adults and teen agers who are more or less inclined to the vocation of marriage, the call is to choose right. There is such a thing as compatibility – I would like to think that this is God’s way of spelling serendipity or destiny. After God created Adam, he made him name the animals. But he found no suitable partner among them. And so God created from Adam’s side, the woman – and the rest is salvation history. You who set your sights on marrying should choose right – choose a suitable partner – somebody who completes you. This is what the dating period is for. And then when decided, prepare for the marriage. The church offers lots of help to do this. In the meantime though, stay pure, and not dip your finger into acts proper for marriage couples until you are married. Love is not just sexual attraction. Love is commitment.

And finally, for all of us, let us mutually encourage each other. Let us encourage married couples to be faithful. Let us struggle for holiness in our own state of life – married, single, consecrated, ordained. Let us continue to pray for each other.

What God has joined together, let every person nourish and nurture.

Friday, October 2, 2009

From the NS Chancery

REMINDERS FROM THE CHANCERY

Month Of OCTOBER 2009

1 - Thursday: St. Therese of the Child Jesus. Virgin and Doctor: Patroness of all Missions. White.

ARCHBISHOP’S SCHEDULE:
7AM – Concelebrated Mass, Feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral, Vigan City

Let us pray for:
Rev.Garret Alfonso Ulanimo (Ordination, 2004)

2 - Friday: Guardian Angels. White.

Let us pray for:
Rev.Michael Tolentino (Ordination, 2004)

3 - Saturday: 26th Week, Ordinary Time. Green or m of the BVM on Saturday, WHITE

4 - †27th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME. GREEN

LA NAVAL:
9 AM – Concelebrated Mass, St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral, Vigan City

ARCHBISHOP’S SCHEDULE:
9 AM – Concelebrated Mass, Rambak Sta. Teresita
Holy Child of Prague Parish, Cervantes, Ilocos Sur

Let us pray for:
Rev.Alen Villareal (Ordination, 2004)
Rev. Edgar Serrano (Birthday, 1961)

5 - Monday: 27th Week, Ordinary Time, GREEN

NECROLOGY:
2006 Rev. Angel Cruces

6 - Tuesday: 27th Week, Ordinary Time, GREEN or m of St. Bruno, Priest, WHITE

NECROLOGY:
1880 Fr. Geronimo Reyes

7 - Wednesday: Our Lady of the Rosary. White.

8 - Thursday: 27th Week, Ordinary Time. GREEN.

9 - Friday: 27th Week, Ordinary Time, GREEN or m of St. Denis, bishop, and Companions, martyrs, RED or m of St. John Leonardi, priest, WHITE.

10 - Saturday: 27th Week, Ordinary Time, GREEN or m of the BVM on Saturday, WHITE.

Let us pray for:
Rev.Florencio Rebebes (Birthday, 1951)

NECROLOGY:
1927 Fr. Agustin Rosario

ARCHBISHOP’S SCHEDULE:
9 AM – Confirmation
St. Isidore the Farmer Parish
San Isidro, San Juan, Ilocos Sur

11 - †28th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME. GREEN
INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S SUNDAY (Special Collection to be made)
“Ti Simbaan ken Kapuonan Agdadanggay a Mangiyanninaw ti Pammati”
Extreme Poverty Day

12 - Monday: 28th Week, Ordinary Time, GREEN

NECROLOGY:
1821 Fr. Joseph Pichay
1966 Archbishop Santiago Sancho

13 - Tuesday: 28th Week, Ordinary Time, GREEN

Let us pray for:
Rev.Marcelo Cantorna (Birthday, 1938)

Regular Schedule: VICARIAL MEETING

ARCHBISHOP’S SCHEDULE:
8 AM – Mass for the La Naval
St. Vincent Parish, San Vicente, Ilocos Sur

14 - Wednesday: 28th Week, Ordinary Time, GREEN or m of St. Callixtus, Pope and Martyr, Red.

15 - Thursday: St Teresa of Jesus, virgin and doctor. WHITE.

16 - Friday: 28th Week, Ordinary Time, GREEN or m of St. Hedwig, religious, WHITE or m of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, virgin, WHITE.

Let us pray for:
Rev.Florentino Escalona (Birthday, 1964)

17 - Saturday: St. Ignatius of Antioch, bishop and martyr. RED.

NECROLOGY:
1966 Msgr. Daniel Cortez

ARCHBISHOP’S SCHEDULE:
Ilocano Bible Centennial Celebration
St. Louis University Burgos Gymnasium, Baguio City

18 - †29th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME. GREEN
WORLD MISSION SUNDAY
“The nations will come to its light”
(Rev. 21:24)
(Special Collection to be made)
(A special homily on the missions should be preached today. The collections of all masses are for the missions and should be sent to the Most Reverend Ordinaries within 15 days. Where special celebrations for the mission work of the Church are held, the mass for the spread of the Gospel may be said today. – ORDO 2008)

ARCHBISHOP’S SCHEDULE:
3 PM – Confirmation
Immaculate Conception Minor Seminary, Vigan City

19 - Monday: 29th Week, Ordinary Time, GREEN or or m. of St. John de Brebeuf and Isaac Jogues, priests and Companions, martyrs, RED or m of St. Paul of the Cross, priest, WHITE.

Regular Schedule: PRIESTS’ ASSEMBLY
October 19 – 20

20 - Tuesday: 29th Week, Ordinary Time, GREEN.

NECROLOGY:
1932 Fr. Segundo Urbi

21 - Wednesday: 29th Week, Ordinary Time, GREEN.

ARCHBISHOP’S SCHEDULE:
9 AM – Confirmation for St. Joseph Institute
St. John of Sahagun Parish, Candon City

22 - Thursday: 29th Week, Ordinary Time, GREEN

Let us pray for:
Rev. Ronald Doña (Birthday, 1981)

23 - Friday: 29th Week, Ordinary Time, GREEN or m of St. John Capistrano, priest, WHITE.

24 - Saturday: 29th Week, Ordinary Time, GREEN or m of the BVM on Saturday, WHITE or m of St. Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop, WHITE.

ARCHBISHOP’S SCHEDULE:
2:30 PM – Solemn Investiture Mass of ICMS
St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral, Vigan City

25 - † 30th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME. GREEN
PRISON AWARENESS SUNDAY
Theme: “Be a light to others… Instrument of Healing and Reconciliation”

VOCATION ANIMATION SUNDAY
(Special Collection to be made)

ARCHBISHOP’S SCHEDULE:
8:30 AM – Mass for the La Naval
St. Ildefonse Parish, San Ildefonso, Ilocos Sur

Let us pray for:
Rev. Rey Urmeneta (Birthday, 1953)
Rev. Pascual Abaya IV (Birthday, 1969)

NECROLOGY:
1847 Fr. Vicente Rivera

26 - Monday: 30th Week, Ordinary Time, GREEN.
Let us pray for:
Rev. Felicisimo Ferrer (Birthday, 1955)
Rev. Aloysius Malcaba (Ordination, 1991)

27 - Tuesday: Sts. Simon and Jude, Apostles. Red

Let us pray for:
Rev. Ray Sabalburo (Ordination, 1983)
Rev. Sherwin Aquino (Birthday, 1977)

28 - Wednesday: 30th Week, Ordinary Time. GREEN.

Let us pray for:
Rev. Ramelle Rigunay (Birthday, 1981)

ARCHBISHOP’S SCHEDULE:
10AM – Wedding
St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral, Vigan City

29 - Thursday: 30th Week, Ordinary Time. GREEN.

Let us pray for:
Rev. Orlando Fuller (Birthday, 1947)
Rev. Alen Villareal (Birthday, 1973)
Rev. Albert Rabe (Ordination, 1983)

30 - Friday: 30th Week, Ordinary Time. GREEN.

Let us pray for:
Rev. Edgar Brillantes (Birthday, 1954)

31 - Saturday: 30th Week, Ordinary Time. GREEN.

Prayer for Deliverance from Calamities

Sr. Grace, SPC emailed me this prayer. Let us join our hearts in imploring God.
Oratio Imperata
For Deliverance From Calamities
Almighty Father, we raise our hearts to You
in gratitude for the wonders of creation
of which we are part, for Your Providence in sustaining our needs,
and for Your Wisdom that guides the course of the universe.
We acknowledge our sins against You and the rest of creation.
We have not been good stewards of Nature.
We have confused Your command to subdue the Earth.
The environment is made to suffer our wrongdoing,
and now we reap the harvest of our abuse and indifference.
Global warming is upon us, typhoons, floods, volcanic eruptions,
and other natural calamities occur in increasing numbers and intensity.
We turn to You, our loving Father, and beg forgiveness for our sins.
We ask that we, our loved ones and our hard earned possessions
be spared from the threat of calamities, natural and man-made.
We beseech You to inspire us all
to grow into responsible stewards of Your creation,
and generous neighbors to those in need.
Amen.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Prayers

We pray for our sisters and brothers affected by the recent typhoon. The picture of devastation has left many of us confounded.

I received this presentation on the aftermath of typhoon Ondoy - http://www.vimeo.com/6784039.

Along with our prayers, other forms of help would be very much appreciated. For one, I know that ABS-CBN is organizing help. For inquiries on how to give help, please contact:

ABS-CBN Foundation USA toll-free 1-800-527-2820 or
Sagip Kapamilya hotlines (02) 413-26-67; (02) 416-03-87 or
Ondoy response: ABS-CBN hotline (02) 416-36-41.

A friend in need is a friend indeed. Whatever we do to the least of our brothers and sisters, we do unto Christ.


Lord, God of all Creation, our help comes from you.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Glory of God's Temple

25th Week in Ordinary Time, Friday, St. Mary’s Church, 7AM


For this week, two prophets have accompanied us through the First Readings – the Prophets Ezra and Haggai. Both Ezra and Haggai in the selections we have read spoke about God’s temple.

The Temple is a central symbol in the religious and social life of the Israelite people. The Temple was the visible sign of the presence and faithfulness of Yahweh. The first temple was built by Solomon. And because it was of such great importance, he had it adorned with gold, silver and the finest of stones. It was however destroyed by the Babylonians when they conquered Judah, the Southern Kingdom and exiled the Israelites in Babylon for a long and difficult period. When the good king, Cyrus of Persia ruled, he released the Israelites, had them return to their land, and ordered that the temple be rebuilt. Darius, who replaced Cyrus as king of Persia pursued the assistance given to the Jews to rebuild the Temple. Years after the restoration and return to Judah, however, the temple had not yet been built. There was hardly anything. Prophet Haggai spoke words of encouragement to Zerubbabel governor of Judah, and to the people, prophesying that the temple will be built and its glory will be far greater than the first temple built by Jerusalem.

This was a prophecy not only of the physical glory of the second temple, but of a glory far greater that the structure. The true glory of the second temple is that it will be visited several times by God himself – Jesus Christ. This will be the temple during the time of Jesus. The Gospels tell us that Jesus presented in the temple, he was lost and found in the temple, he taught in the temple, he cleansed the temple, he sanctified the temple by healing in the temple. The Glory of God, Jesus Christ, will be in the Temple.

Today, in our Modern Christian world, we also have great physical structures which remind us of the presence of God. We have beautiful chapels, churches, shrines, basilicas. But the smallest and simplest of the mission chapels in a small and poor rural community, maybe made of lowly straw and beaten bamboo or mudpacks, are no less than the majestic churches of the finest and rarest marbles, mosaics and tapestry, with walls maybe even gilded with gold and silver.

(San Antonio de Padua Parish Church, Sugpon, Ilocos Sur, Philippines)

The glory of the Lord may be symbolized by the structure, but the true glory in the structure is in the humility of the Tabernacle. Our greatest treasure is the Eucharist – which we celebrate in this Holy Mass, and which endures and remains with us in the consecrated species of the bread and wine – the Real Presence, which we behold in adoration and receive in communion. That is why we are asked to behave properly in Church, especially before the Blessed Sacrament. That is why we are asked to cherish the last moments of the mass in thanksgiving to Jesus who has come to us.

As we contemplate then the glory of the ancient temple, and the beauty and magnificence of churches, shrines and basilicas, let us not forget that the glory of the Lord in these, is in the Real Presence, in the Eucharist. Utmost respect, reverence, love then is our most proper response to this humble glory before us.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Triumph of the Cross



September 14 is the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross, also called, the Exaltation of the Cross. Here is how the feast originated:

Early in the fourth century St. Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, went to Jerusalem in search of the holy places of Christ's life. She razed the Temple of Aphrodite, which tradition held was built over the Savior's tomb, and her son built the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher over the tomb. During the excavation, workers found three crosses. Legend has it that the one on which Jesus died was identified when its touch healed a dying woman.

The cross immediately became an object of veneration. At a Good Friday celebration in Jerusalem toward the end of the fourth century, according to an eyewitness, the wood was taken out of its silver container and placed on a table together with the inscription Pilate ordered placed above Jesus' head: Then "all the people pass through one by one; all of them bow down, touching the cross and the inscription, first with their foreheads, then with their eyes; and, after kissing the cross, they move on."

To this day the Eastern Churches, Catholic and Orthodox alike, celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on the September anniversary of the basilica's dedication. The feast entered the Western calendar in the seventh century after Emperor Heraclius recovered the cross from the Persians, who had carried it off in 614, 15 years earlier. According to the story, the emperor intended to carry the cross back into Jerusalem himself, but was unable to move forward until he took off his imperial garb and became a barefoot pilgrim. (American Catholic)

The cross was an ancient form of punishment which dates back to the Persians. It was later adopted by the Greeks, then also by the Romans. Crucifixion was considered the worst of all punishment, not only because of the pain felt by the crucified, and the slow and excruciating cause of death on the cross, which is asphyxiation – characterized by the loss of oxygen causing severe muscle paralysis among others. It was considered the worst punishment because of what it meant – the person is exposed, stripped naked which means the person is stripped of his dignity, and then he is hanged on the cross between heaven and earth which mean he is deprived of both heaven and earth – he is deprived of everything. The cross was not only a painful death, but a sentence of ultimate humiliation and of total deprivation.
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The cross is by no means then a beautiful symbol. It is actually an ugly sign of cruelty. Triumph of the Cross then would be an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms. The cross is anything by triumphant.
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What changed it all is when Jesus gave himself over to be crucified. The authorities meant to humiliate, deprive, defeat Jesus. On the contrary, on the cross, Jesus was exalted, fulfilled, triumphant. On the cross, Jesus was exalted, raised up high, and just as the serpent lifted up on the pole symbolized, all who look on Jesus Crucified will be saved. On the cross, Jesus fulfilled his mission to be Messiah, whose suffering and death won the healing and life of broken humanity. On the cross, Jesus triumphed over violence, over sin, over death, over evil, over hatred. The cross is the triumph of Peace, of Grace, of Life, of Goodness, of Love.

The cross was a sign of defeat and of weakness. But the self-giving of Christ, which the letter of Paul to the Philippians sing about transformed it into a statement of triumph and strength. Very beautifully, Hans Urs Von Balthasar wrote that the divinity of Jesus shone most eminently in the cross. Jesus, was most God when he was there hanging on the cross – for only God can be capable of such great love. True, because God is love.

As the Church grew, the cross became a central symbol of the faith, and rightly so. We sign ourselves with the sign of the cross. The cross is central in the symbols of the Churches. We hang the cross in our homes, rooms, schools, workplaces, even in our cars. Some have the cross in their pocket. Some wear them as pendants, rings, or sometimes even as earrings. But more than just symbols, more than fashion accessories, let us remember that when we sign ourselves with the cross, when we hang the cross, or when we bring the cross, or wear the cross,

1. We are reminding ourselves of the great love of God – For God so loved the world, that he gave us his only son, so that all who would believe in him might have eternal life.
2. We are making a statement of faith – that we believe that Jesus Christ has saved us, that Jesus Christ has freed us.
3. And we are saying yes to cross – to take up our cross daily, to embrace the cross and let the cross triumph in our lives. The cross triumphs in our lives when we defeat violence, sin, death, evil and hatred, and let Peace, Grace, Life, Goodness, Love be concrete in our daily lives.

May we be always grateful for the immense love of God, proud of our Christian heritage of the cross, and aware of our responsibility to take up the cross daily.

Let us adore Christ and bless him because by his holy cross he has redeemed the world.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Mother's Name

September 12, Holy Name of Mary (Optional Memorial)

A Mother’s Name

Today we celebrate the HOLY NAME of MARY. This celebration began in 1513 and originated as a local feast in Cuenca, Spain and was celebrated in September 15. Later it was extended to the whole Archdiocese of Toledo, Spain. After the Battle of Vienna in 1683, in which the Christians’ victory was gained through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Pope Innocent XI made the feast open to the universal church. The reform of the Roman Calendar in 1954 set the date to September 12. The Roman Calendar of 1962 made the commemoration an optional memorial, due to its proximity to a more important feast, the Birth of Mary in September 8.

Although the latest Roman Calendar does not emphasize the celebration that much, it would still be helpful to celebrate this day, especially this year, when it falls on a Saturday, the day of our Lady, and given the help Our Mother offers us in our way to her Son, our Lord.
“The Hebrew name of Mary, Miryãm, (in Latin Domina) means lady or sovereign;
this Mary is in virtue of her Son's sovereign authority as Lord of the World. We
call Mary our Lady as we call Jesus our Lord, and when we pronounce her name we
affirm her power, implore her aid and place ourselves under her protection.” (Catholic Culture.org)
In the Divine Praises we pray, “Blessed be the great Mother of God, Virgin and Mother…. Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.”

As these are prayerful invocations, these are also affirmations of our faith. We honor Mary, not because of Mary, but because of her Son Jesus. Mary is the Mother of Jesus. And this is Our Lady’s surest hope – that we honor and follow her Son Jesus. At the Wedding at Cana, her instruction was, “Do whatever Jesus tells you.” In this same Gospel episode, we see the motherly attentiveness of Mary. She saw that the new couple was in danger of embarrassment since the wine had ran out. Our Mother sees our needs, and she fervently prays for us to her Son.

The celebration of Mary’s name is a celebration of the greatness of God, for having raised our broken humanity to wholeness, through his Son. This is also a grateful celebration of Jesus our Lord’s graciousness and providence, for having given us a Mother who has constantly helped us and guided us in our journey in this life, “an exile in a valley of tears” – like a Star of the Sea to weary seafarers.

Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary Most Holy. Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering Sin and Grace

Today's First Reading is from St. Paul's Letter to Timothy (1 Tim 1:1-2.12-14)

One of the things that stand out in this passage is Paul's insistence on remembering his own sin – “I was a blasphemer, and I did all I could to injure and discredit the faith.” Paul recognized and remembered that he was a cruel persecutor of the Christians. He was not content in talking against them; he was actively engaged in pursuing them, and meeting them with violence. Paul regarded himself as the chief of sinners. True, he could never forget that he was forgiven; but neither could he ever forget that he was a sinner. Why should he remember his sin with such vividness?

Should not Paul just move on? Should not Paul just bask in the triumph over sin? Should not Paul just glory in grace? William Barclay proposes these reasons for Paul's mindfulness of his sin.

1) The memory of his sin was the surest way to keep him from pride. It does a man good to remember his sins; it saves him from spiritual pride.

2) The memory of his sin was the surest way to keep his gratitude aflame. To remember what he had been forgiven is the surest way to keep awake his love to Jesus Christ, to keep awake the flame of gratitude within his heart.

3) The memory of his sin was the constant urge to greater effort. When he remembered how much God loves him and how little he deserved it, when he remembered that it was for him that Jesus Christ hung and suffered on Calvary, it compelled him to effort that will tell God he realizes what he has done for him and will show Jesus Christ that his sacrifice was not in vain.

4) The memory of his sin was bound to be a constant encouragement to others. It was not that he brooded unhealthily over his sin; it was that he remembered it to rejoice in the wonder of the grace of Jesus Christ.

Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. (1 Tim 1:14)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

September 8: The Birth of Mary

From the earliest of time, we read from Genesis 3:15, God said, as he cursed the snake, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel." And all of Israel from then on waited for the birth of this man who will destroy the serpent – and of course, waited for the woman to give birth to this Promised Savior.

At the appointed time, the woman who was to be the Mother of the Savior was born to her parents, Joachim and Anne. She was named Mary. Also in the appointed time, the woman was visited by an angel, whose announcement she lovingly accepted. And also in the appointed time, the woman, gave birth to a son, who was named Jesus. The rest, as they say is history – salvation history.

The birth of Mary brings us to reflect on our own birth and the life - which is definitely a special appointed time too.

I would like to believe, as the Sacred Scriptures attests to, that each of us is born for a specific purpose. In fact, the Bible reveals to us that God has called us even before we are born – we are dedicated to a unique and special role. Not that we are predetermined by fate, but that our birth is with purpose and it is our choice to fulfill that or otherwise.

In the concrete, it is pretty difficult to recognize and take hold of this purpose that God has for us. This is evidenced by the difficulty many encounter in choosing a career, a profession, a state of life.

A little aid from our enlightened peers might help. Frederick Buechner, an ordained Presbyterian minister once said, "The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet."

Our quest for our life's purpose, or calling, if you want to name it so, has two dimensions then – (1) where we find our deepest gladness and (2) the world’s deep hunger.

Our purpose in life which maybe manifested in a career, profession or state in life is first of all where we find our deepest gladness. The encouragement of many parents is proper – "Choose where you will be happy and fulfilled. We will be here to support you." Jesus said in the Gospel, "Where your heart is, there your treasure will be." In an increasingly financially difficult world, in an increasingly commercialized and secularized world, in a world where more and more the norm is material progress, this comes as a great challenge – does our choice of profession bring us deep personal joy, fulfillment and peace? Joy is not simply cheer. Fulfillment is not simply accomplishment. Peace is not simply security. Financial progress, career heights, a fat bank account, and accumulated wealth do not always bring deep, true, lingering gladness. The first measure then of our purpose in life is deep personal joy, fulfillment and peace.

Second, our purpose in life which maybe manifested in a career, profession or state in life is to be based, on the world’s deep hunger. Our purpose in life is not only for ourselves, but also in response to the world’s deep hunger. Cliché as it may be, still it is true that no person is an island, no person stands alone, each person’s joy is my joy, each person’s grief is my own. Our pursuit of a purposeful life, and for deep gladness should also take into consideration the world’s deepest need. The problem arises when in pursuit of personal happiness a person closes his or her eyes to the suffering of other people. Worse, when in pursuit of personal happiness, a person causes the suffering of other people, even myriads of peoples. We are reminded that our purpose in life is tied not only to our personal happiness, but to our contribution to the task of alleviating the poverty of the world, of quenching the deepest thirst of peoples, of filling the hungers of humanity.

Purpose and Joy. Life and Mission. We pray for these graces with the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women. And blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

From enemy to friend

23rd Week in OT, Thursday, September 10, 2009, SMR

From enemy to friend

In one Sunday reading, we heard of the sad episode of disciples deserting Jesus. They chorused – “This is difficult teaching. Who can accept this?”

Today, we hear again of difficult teachings from our Lord. Take for one, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly.”
We may ask, “How in the world can I love my enemies? Why should I do good to those who hate me? Or bless those who curse me? Or pray and wish the best for those who treat me badly?” First of all, of course we are called not to have enemies. “Enemy” is not a Christian category. We can choose not to identify people as our enemies. Somebody said that “we have to be close to our friends, but closer to our enemies”. Somebody also said that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Neither however is a Christian attitude. What another wise fellow said would be a more Christian attitude – “The best way to destroy your enemy is to make him a friend.”
We may ask, “But what, Father is they continue to do us bad, if they continue to gossip about us, if they continue to hurt us, if they continue mistreat us, if they continue to curse us, if they continue to make life difficult for us?” If they go overboard, of course we could and should bring them to the law. But retaliation, revenge is not an option. Befriending them may not end their aggression, but neither would revenge do. In fact, the cycle of violence will only grow worse.

Martin Luther King, Jr. put it so well – “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

If we are able to take on the attitude of Christ - love, goodness and prayer for aggressors, we actually triumph over our aggressors. By loving them, being good to them, praying for them, we become freer. We refuse to be enslaved by their aggression; we refuse to be enslaved by violence. We instead assert our freedom to choose our response, and we live up to who we truly are as children of God.

We pray that we may have the clarity of mind, the strength of will, and the openness of heart to respond to aggression with peace, to respond to animosity with love.

Back

I have been out of the blogosphere for quite some time. For some reasons, I fell out - lack of time, juice, resolve and faithfulness. I am back. I hope to regularly get to this, and share stirrings and echoes that have come to me - as gentle breezes, gushing winds, calm waters, raging currents, troubling thoughts, silent reflections, and whatever that has disturbed, inspired, challenged, moved me.

I am now in the US. I arrived here last August 6. My Archbishop, Apo Erning, with the ICST seminary fathers sent me here for studies. I am deeply grateful for their confidence. I am also truly thankful to countless people who have encouraged me, supported me, pledged their prayers, and wished me well.

I have much to write about this. Wrting about it, I know will benefit me first. If it does something to you, thanks to the Eternal Stirring and Lingering Echo, the Spirit.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Assignments for June 2009

The following are the appointments for the June 2009 reshuffle:

  1. Rev. Moises Andrada II: Parish Priest, St. Michael the Archangel Parish, San Emilio
  2. Rev. Sherwin Aquino: Parish Priest, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Del Pilar
  3. Rev. Jerry Avisa: Parish Priest, Immaculate Conception Parish, Sta. Cruz
  4. Rev. Bernardo Gonzales: Parish Priest, Immaculate Conception Parish, Quirino
  5. Rev. Ernesto Juarez: Parish Priest, Sto. Niño de Praga Parish, Cervantes
  6. Rev. Danilo Martinez: Parish Priest, St. Andrew Parish, Suyo
  7. Rev. Divinus Sanctus Rabang: Parish Priest, St. Joseph Parish, Sigay
  8. Rev. Reynaldo Rebebes: Parish Priest, San Antonio de Padua Parish, Sugpon
  9. Rev. Arwin Rebollido: Parish Priest, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Alilem
  10. Rev. Rufo Abaya: Parochial Vicar, Immaculate Conception Parish, Sta. Cruz
  11. Rev. Cristeto Cortez: Parochial Vicar, Conversion of St. Augustine, Tagudin
  12. Rev. Carlito Feria: Parochial Vicar, San Juan de Sahagun Parish, Candon
  13. Rev. Manuel Galimba: Parochial Vicar, St. William the Hermit Parish, Magsingal
  14. Rev. Ramelle Rigunay: Parochial Vicar, Sto. Niño de Praga Parish, Cervantes
  15. Rev. Lovell Soller: Parochial Vicar, St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral, Vigan City
  16. Rev. George Tabangcura: Parochial Vicar, St. Lucy Parish, Narvacan
  17. Rev. Mar Barroga: Procurator, Immaculate Conception Minor Seminary
  18. Rev. Lester Joseph Plana: Resident Formator, Immaculate Conception School of Theology
  19. Rev. Ferdinand Ragasa: Chancellor, NUSACS Superintendent
  20. Rev. Alen Villareal: Assistant Finance Secretary
  21. Rev. Arthur Amian: Missionary to Hawaii
  22. Rev. Reginald Paul Pira: Missionary to Hawaii
  23. Rev. Cosmenio Monico Rosimo: Missionary to Hawaii

After their ordination:
  1. Rev. Ronald Doña: Parochial Vicar, St. Mark the Evangelist Parish, Cabugao
  2. Rev. Erwin Echalas: Parochial Vicar, St. William the Hermit Parish, Magsingal
  3. Rev. Jeric Jaramillo: Parochial Vicar, St. Lucy Parish, Sta. Lucia
  4. Rev. Juan Joyful Taqueban, Parochial Vicar, San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish, Sinait


The Archbishop enjoins those who are part of the reshuffle to make the necessary endorsements and arrangements. He also asks that all, clergy, religious and lay faithful continue praying for each other, and in a special way, for those who shall have new assignments. The Archbishop assures all of his prayers and best wishes.

The Archbishop formally announced and handed the appointment letters at the culminating and send-off Mass of the May Priests' Assembly (May 18-19) held at Arinaya White Beach Resort in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mothers' Day

"All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother." - Abraham Lincoln

A partially deaf boy came home from school one day carrying a note from officials at the school. The note suggested that the parents take the boy out of school, claiming that he was "too stupid to learn."

The boy's mother read the note and said, "My son Tom isn't 'too stupid to learn.' I'll teach him myself." And so she did.

When Tom died many years later, the people of the United States of America paid tribute to him by turning off the nation's lights for one full minute. You see, this Tom had invented the light bulband not only that, but motion pictures and the record player. In all, Thomas Edison had more than one thousand patents to his credit.

"My mother was the making of me." - Thomas A. Edison (1847-1931)

Happy Mothers' Day


To My Mama, Lydia


To My Lola, Cecilia


To my sister, Che Vicky, Mother to Paul and Pauline



To Auntie Ofie


To Auntie Helen



To Terefil (my brother Winchile's wife), mother to Jayden


To Aileen (my cousin Ton-ton's wife), mother to Lianne and recently, Russel


To Lanie (my cousin Lester's wife; looking forward to Lyndon, your little angel's pics)


(And the mothers at heart)

To Auntie Mabel (my Mama's sister)


To Auntie Jo, Sr. Jocelyn Wong, spc (my Mama's sister)


And to all Mothers out there.
You deserve only respect, love and appreciation.

Thank you for your love.


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Vigan: Tres de Mayo

Among the festivities of the Vigan Fiesta of Tres de Mayo are the grains painting and the carabao painting, which began this morning. Here are some pictures of the event:





And there is more. Come to Vigan and have fun. =)