Off-Center – Jett Villarin, SJ

Matthew 4:12-23, Third Sunday in Ordinary Time Jesus begins his ministry off-center. Not in his hometown Nazareth nor in the center of religion, Jerusalem. His proclamation of the good news is preceded by bad news. John’s arrest prompts him to move northward to Galilee, “west of the Jordan, the District of the Gentiles”, to a…

Emmaüs- Jett Villarin, SJ

14th January 2023 I was looking for Emmaus on the modern map. There is Abu Gosh, there is Latrun. We don’t know where Emmaus is but it seems to be west of Jerusalem. Our story opens on Sunday, after the heavy events of Good Friday. The two disciples are sad. They are leaving Jerusalem, walking…

Mystery – Harvey Mateo, SJ

13 January 2023 Having spent a few years working in hospitals, I have experienced dealing with death in various ways: making sense of it when it came unexpectedly, withholding heroic measures when it was imminent, and being frustrated and angry when it could have been avoided, as in the case of those without access to…

Fixer and Feeder – Arnel Aquino, SJ

12th January 2023 For a long time, like many religious men, most of my own difficulties in my personal life sprang from my hunger for fatherly love. Many religious men have “lost father syndrome.” Our fathers were either physically or emotionally distant. My dad was a strange combination. He was mostly emotionally distant. But when…

John and Maria – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Matthew 3:1-12; Second Sunday of Advent The other night, I was astounded to see Maria Ressa appear on the Late Show with StephenColbert. Then, yesterday morning, she appeared on NPR news with veteran journalist JudyWoodruff. And last night, she was on MSNBC news! “How to Stand Up to a Dictator”, the bookshe had written, was…

Awake – Jett Villarin, SJ

Matthew 24:37-44, First Sunday of Advent “Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.”…

Thankful – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Luke 17:11-19; 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time What we consider leprosy or Hansen’s disease today might not exactly be the same disease the Bible calls “leprosy.” In Scriptures, “leprosy” was really a catch-all term for disease that made skin dry, crusty, scaly, and well, unsightly. Back then, water was scarce and unfiltered from dirty wells….

Found – Jett Villarin, SJ

Luke 15:1-32, 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time There are three fractions in the Gospel today. One out of 99 sheep is lost (one percent); one out of ten coins is missing (ten percent); and one of two sons goes rogue (50%). How much lost, how much found are you? I think no one here in…

Sorry, not Sorry – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Luke 15:1-32, 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time When we think of mercy, awa, we often think of the object of mercy as being the poor, the oppressed, the helpless, the api. Which is okay because they do need mercy. But strangely enough, notice that the parables of mercy are not about the poor or the…

Agapasme – Arnel Aquino, SJ

John 21:1-19; 3rd Sunday of Easter You’ve probably heard this interpretation of John’s Gospel before. But it’s just so rich that it bears repetition. John’s Gospel was written in Greek, and with Greek sensibilities. The Greeks had four words for love: eros, storge, philia, & agápe, two of which appear in today’s Gospel. Eros is…

Coin – Jett Villarin, SJ

Matthew 26:14-25, Wednesday of Holy Week Thirty pieces of silver. The price of betrayal. This is all it takes to lose our soul. All it takes to lose our hope. To this day, the silver still circulates in our midst. Especially now, as elections draw near. To this day, the fraudsters are still falling over…

Real Wealth – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Luke 15:1-32; 4th Sunday of Lent (Laetare Sunday) To us, Pinoys, it’s inconceivably brazen to ask our parents for our mana while they still live and breathe. Puwede tayong humingi ng puhunan. Puwede ring sabihin, “Dad, pautang muna po.” But never, “Ma, Pa, kunin ko na mana ko ngayon.” Subtext?“Why wait till you’re dead?” Bastos…