Behind – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Matthew 15:21-28, 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Allow me to briefly explain tonight’s troubling Gospel. According to the commentaries, the Matthean community had two voices: the particularist and the universalist. The particularist voice in the community taught that Jesus came to the world to save first “the children of Israel”; so Jews first, then the…

Who’s Testing Whom? – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Matthew 14:22-33, 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time Have you ever drowned? I actually drowned when I was in grade 4. Our dad had bought us new diving goggles for an upcoming beach trip. So, kuya and I decided to try them out at a neighbor’s swimming pool. It was the first time I had ever…

Fixer – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Matthew 17:1-9, The Transfiguration of our Lord We had a Himig Heswita concert in Tokyo over two weeks ago. Out of the six singers who were supposed to perform, only two made it. The other four didn’t get their visas on time. It wasn’t really their fault. Last May, our very well-meaning secretary volunteered to…

Lit – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Matthew 13:1-9, 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time. With the help of brain imaging, neurologists can actually hook us up to a machine and see parts of our brain light up as they get activated by stimulus—like a picture of a loved one, a whiff of cologne, a song. What neuroscientists find fascinating is when someone…

Thaw – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Matthew 10:37-42, 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time You’ve heard of parents who would love for a son or daughter to enter the priesthood or to be a nun. My parents were like that. Funny how you remember some things like they happened only yesterday, but it was one rainy night when Dad and I sat…

Secrets – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Matthew 10:26-33, 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time A good friend of mine lost a little over P100,000 recently. Apparently, the ATM he had used was rigged. All the “secrets” kept in that magnetic strip were stolen. “Skimming” is what they call the scam. Banco de Oro said they’d been trying to get in touch with…

For-Whom – Arnel Aquino, SJ

John 6:51-58, Solemnity of Corpus Christi When I was in 2nd-year college here, I lived with 12 other guys who were thinking of entering the Jesuits, like I was. We stayed in Arvisu House along Katipunan, and Fr Jess Lucas was our director. One Saturday, at the end of a two-day silent recollection, we gathered…

Person and Relation – Arnel Aquino, SJ

John 3:16-18, Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity Did you see the video showing the Maute savaging St. Mary’s Cathedral in Marawi? We hear about this all the time—ISIS or the Taliban or Al-Qaeda vandalizing holy places out there in the Middle East. But it doesn’t hit as hard and hurt as deeply until you…

Communion – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Matthew 28:16-20, Solemnity of the Ascension When I was in graduate studies, I lived with an American Jesuit who was a former US Navy soldier. He had been deployed to missions in Syria and Afghanistan, and was even briefly missioned in Subic. While fixing some lunch one day, he asked, “So, Arnel, how’s the interfaith dialogue with…

At Home 2 – Arnel Aquino, SJ

John 14:21-26, Monday of the Fifth Week of Eastertide In my life as a Jesuit, people who peek into my room gasp and say, “Yikes, ‘oc-oc’ ka (obsessive-compulsive)! Abnormal!” I don’t have much stuff in my room. I can’t think straight when there’s “stuff” I don’t really need. So there’s a very short shelf-life of…

At Home – Arnel Aquino, SJ

John 14:21-26, Monday of the Fifth Week of Eastertide Many years ago, when a small group of Jesuit batchmates gathered in a cheerful, informal reunion, one said thoughtfully: “Ngayong tumatanda na tayo, hindi naman talaga tayo nagbago. We’ve just become more at home with ourselves.” I found that interesting. I guess you could say, “Well,…

Think Sky – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Acts 11:1-18, John 10:11-18, Monday of the Fourth Week of Eastertide When we went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, there was a Saturday, a Sabbath, when we were out visiting places. I forget now where we were exactly but the tour guide warned us not to make the mistake of venturing into a particular part of…