Isn’t Doubt Good? – Francis Alvarez SJ

“I have doubts about my faith.” More than a few times, I have been approached with this concern. My usual reply: “What do you mean by having doubts? If you mean you have questions about your faith, then congratulations! It is good that you have questions about your faith. This is a sign that you…

Will We Always Have Second Chances? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

A caveat: This reflection does not guarantee warm and fuzzy feelings. To stress this warning, let me share with you this essay’s working title: “Are You Ready to Die?” In the first part of our Gospel today, we hear about “the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.” Some scholars…

When Is It Enough? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

There are many ways to read the Word of God. A dangerous way would be to read Scripture literally. “From the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic,” Jesus says in our Gospel today. Tell that to someone being robbed. A more responsible way to read God’s word would be to…

What Oppresses You? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

[The Spirit of the Lord] has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free… The words spoken by Jesus in our Gospel today are not just for those rotting away in jail cells and not just for those who have lost their eyesight…

Can You Join The Christmas Movement? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

“Talo ka sa lolo ko….” Not only can jokes of this type make you slap your knee in laughter, they can also make you stroke your chin in thought. This is humor which tickles your funny bone and at the same time, touches something deep inside of you, something raw, something that makes you flinch….

Should We Still Hail Kingship? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

In our modern (some would say post-modern, or even post-post-modern) world, when monarchy is mainly for ceremony, does the Feast of Christ the King still have meaning? As we let this and then that fad lord it over our lives, as we bow to fleeting trifles, maybe there is an even greater need to remind…

What Do You Really Want? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

Bartimaeus did not have sight in both of his eyes, but this did not prevent him from seeing the answer to three of life’s most important questions. The first question: What do you want? Some of us drift from one thing to another. Sometimes, this is because we do not know what we really want….

Can You Say Yes To What Is Hard? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

Many of Jesus’ disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life. Before we hastily dismiss these disciples of Jesus, we have to give them credit. First of all, they were paying enough attention to…

What Makes A Good Shepherd? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

There is a verse in our Gospel today that gives us an interesting detail: People were coming and going in such great numbers to see Jesus and the Twelve that the Lord and his apostles had no opportunity even to eat. If Christ and his disciples had not eaten, then chances are the people who…

What Are Your Blessings For? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

Luke 1:57-66, 80, Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist Oscar Wilde tells the parable of a supercilious rocket so enamored with his pedigree and potential that he shed copious tears while talking about himself. Alas, his tears dampened his gunpowder. When his time came to be lit, he was too wet and…

How Are Your Relationships? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

A family has lunch at a restaurant. The parents and their teenaged children are gathered around one table, but hardly a word is exchanged among them. It is not because their mouths are full; it is because their eyes are glued to palm-sized screens and their fingers are busy tapping away. The scene above is…

Why Sheep? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

Sheep (including lambs, ewes, and rams) are the most mentioned animals in Scripture. And in many instances in their flock of appearances, sheep are used as metaphors for the people of God. To bleat out a few verses, in Ezekiel 34:30-31, we read, “They shall know that I, the Lord their God, am with them,…