Incarnate Forever – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Mark 1:7-11, Baptism of Our Lord One thing I love to do is to shock my students by reminding them of things about Jesus I’m sure they’ve forgotten. For example, a few days after I uploaded my lecture-video on the Resurrection, a student commented: “OMG! I’ve forgotten that Jesus resurrected as both soul and body.”…

Our True North – Arnel Aquino, SJ

John 1:6-8; 19-28, Third Sunday of Advent My rector is one of the kindest Jesuits I’ve ever lived with and one of the most outdoorsy senior citizens I know. Fr. Riyo loves hiking and climbing mountains. He can name more mountains in the Philippines than I ever studied in Araling Panlipunan 500 years ago! I…

Off our Knees – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Mark 13:33-37, 1st Sunday of Advent How would you like a parish priest like this: He spends most of his time on his knees, in front of the altar, praying by himself? He hears confessions for six hours every day. In his masses, he always ends up talking about sin, that we should avoid it,…

Shepherd King – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Matthew 25:31-46, Solemnity of Christ the King Pope Pius XI instituted the Solemnity of Christ the King in 1925, and for good reason. In the 1920s arose totalitarianism and fascist dictators: Mussolini, Stalin, Hirohito, all finally inspiring a Hitler. Christendom needed reminding that Christ was, is, and the only king. If you notice, many world…

Exage – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Matthew 25:14-30, 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Today’s parable is driven by hyperbole. We will better appreciate the richness of the story if we realize the exaggeration that runs it. Back in Jesus’ Israel, when people talked about everyday expenses, they’d talk “drachmas,” “shekels,” “denarii”—their usual currency. But when talking about huge amounts, they’d talk…

Where Both Meet – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Matthew 22:34-40, 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time If you and I were Orthodox Jews, and today were Sabbath Day, there would be several things we’d be forbidden from doing, things that constitute work. We’re forbidden from building a fire. So, we can’t use the stove, or light a cigarette, or turn on any switches because…

Who Owns You? – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Matthew 22:15-21, 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time “Is it lawful to pay census tax to Caesar or not?” If Jesus said yes, the hierarchs would charge him with blasphemy, punishable by stoning. Only God was king! If he said no, they’d rat him out to the Romans who could charge him with treason, also punishable…

Time to Fly – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Luke 10:25-37, Monday of Week 27 in Ordinary Time Once upon a time there was a king who received a gift of two peregrine falcons. They were the most magnificent birds he had ever seen. He entrusted them to his falconer who promptly trained them to hunt. After several months, king and falconer noticed that…

From No to Yes – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Matthwe 21:28-32, 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time This confrontation between Jesus and the hierarchs happened after three critical events: First,  Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, which was like falling into the trap of his enemies; Second, the cleansing of the Temple, which gave his enemies categorical grounds to pounce on him, and third, the cursing…

Zero Tolerance – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Matthew 18:15-20, 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time If China came to invade us and stayed a few years outlawing any citizens’s organizations, imagine how many religious and para-religious communities would be decimated, or even killed: like the Couples for Christ, the Iglesia ni Kristo, the charismatic communities, and who knows, maybe even Catholic parishes. That…

Martyr – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Matthew 16:21-27, 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time An Australian scholastic lived with us many years ago. When he noticed that I took my studies very seriously, he said: “Hey, Arnel, back in Australia, Jesuits have a saying: ‘You’re no good to us, dead.’” I didn’t get it then. So, he explained. “It means that the…

Kata-holos – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Matthew 15:21-28, 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time First, let’s explain the most troublesome spot in the Gospel where Jesus seemed to have referred to the Canaanite woman as a “dog.” According to some scholars, Matthew’s community back in the day had two voices, like two schools of thought: the particularist and the universalist. Christians with…