Partners in Mission – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Matthew 16:13-19, Feast of Sts Peter and Paul, Apostles A big difference between Saint Peter and Saint Paul was their idea of “mission,” or more technically, their “missiology.” Peter thought that the mission Jesus entrusted to them was meant only for Israel, for the Jews. Now that the promised Messiah had come, the Jews must…

Truth to Power – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Matthew 10:26-33, 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time When I was still in school many years ago, I signed a petition. We were requesting for a change of professor. The petition was our last resort. We had already made more diplomatic requests but they all fell on deaf ears. Finally, the administration honored our petition, and…

No Metaphysics Needed – Arnel Aquino, SJ

John 6:51-58, Solemnity of Corpus Christi “With all due respect, St Thomas, it’s getting harder and harder to explain the Real Presence of Christ in the host and wine, using your metaphysics.” I recently contemplated a gutsy conversation with St Thomas Aquinas. “Your metaphysics was revolutionary, dear St Thomas. During consecration, the substantia of bread…

Divine Indwelling – Arnel Aquino, SJ

John 20:19-23, Feast of the Pentecost Whenever I get to bless a new car, I’m often amused when the owner stumbles around, rushing to open everything that can ever be swung open: doors, hood, trunk, even glove compartment! A seminarian once asked: “Fr. Arnel, valid ba ang blessing kung sarado?” He used air quotes on…

Allow – Arnel Aquino, SJ

John 13:16-20, Thursday of the 4th week of Eastertide According to neuro-psychiatrists, we produce at least 50,000 thoughts a day. 70-80% of those are negative. So, we’re all negative thinkers by default. But behavioral psychologists say it’s our mind’s way of constantly alerting us to danger, so we can self-protect. We’re not often conscious of…

A Saving Love – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Matthew 21:1-11, Palm Sunday I’ve had asthma since I was born and hypertension since I was 23. So, when experts said that people with comorbidity had less chances of surviving Covid-19, that nailed me. And I felt nailed almost every day in the first two weeks of lockdown; nailed on fear, nailed on anxiety, nailed…

Laetare – Arnel Aquino, SJ

John 9:1-41, 4th Sunday of Lent Our Gospel today is bursting with ironies. Maybe it’s just fitting for Laetare Sunday. Because when you look at the story in a more light-hearted way, its ironies can actually bring a faint smile to your face. The man was born blind, so people presumed either he or his…

Fù bùguò sāndài (富不过三代) – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Matthew 17:1-9, 2nd Sunday of Lent A few years ago, two friends of mine took the whole family to a series of workshops about family businesses. That was new to me: families going on workshops about running the business. “It’s very important these days, Fr Arnel,” my friend said. “Because only twelve percent of family…

I Want Some More – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Matthew 4:1-11; 1st Sunday of Lent If we still think that the story of Adam and Eve literally and historically happened, then we run into many problems. First, if the whole human race came from only two parents, do we presume that their children and their grandchildren had physical relations with each other to eventually…

Up Close and Personal – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Matthew 5:13-16, 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time Kuya and I were painfuly, frustratingly shy when we were young. We couldn’t be asked to go to a store to buy something, or to ride a jeep and sit with strangers, or to help out at mom’s botica because we’d have to talk to customers. One Sunday,…

Kapangyarihan – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Mark 6:7-13, Thursday in the 4th Week of Ordinary Time A few years ago, a good friend of mine — let’s call him Mang Manny — he told me a disturbing story. At his workplace, he witnessed a priest shouting at a co-employee, really skinning him alive. I don’t remember the reason why the priest…

Being Senior – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Luke 2:22-40, The Presentation of Our Lord A very dear uncle in the US emailed me the other day. He asked if I had some reflections about the Feast of the Presentation. He wanted to share it with his church group. Alas, I told him, I myself always had difficulty writing a homily on the Presentation. Because other than what we just read from Luke this evening, the Gospels make no…