Aren’t We Blessed – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Luke 14:25-33, 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time I remember many years ago, a group of OFWs in Saudi Arabia sent us a letter at Jesuit Communications. They asked if we sold any videotape of any Mass. They said they didn’t care if the recording was clear or not. “Basta,” they said, they just wanted a…

Disfigured by Pride – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Luke 14: 1-14, 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Humble people are teachable, which means they know how to listen. They believe there’s always something to still learn from the wisdom and experiences of others. The proud, however, listen mainly to themselves and to people who agree with them. That’s why proud people in authority rarely…

Going Through – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Luke 13:22-30; 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time In our theology classes in Loyola School of Theology, some of my brightest students are those doing their MA while also teaching theology at Ateneo. I really admire them and their work. I can only imagine how difficult it is to teach theology to college people these days,…

Assumptions – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Luke 1:39-56, The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Our Gospel today has two distinct parts. Look how interesting it is. The first part, Elizabeth’s, is filled with second-person pronouns. “Blessed are you among women…and the fruit of your womb. How wonderful that (you,) the mother of my Lord should come to me! When I heard you greet me, my baby leaped in me. Blessed are you who believed what the Lord told you!” Elizabeth showers…

Ready – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Luke 12:32-48; 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time Two dear friends of mine were recently diagnosed with cancer. So, I went to Quiapo Church last Monday. One of three reasons I attend mass there is to bring before God desperate petitions people ask me to help them pray for, like this one. I certainly could’ve just…

Vows – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Matthew 13:54-58, on the occasion of the Profession of Perpetual First Vows of Jesuit Novices Jaclay, Masaya, Renier, Paulus, and Giovanni Mang Tino is our longest-staying and most cheerful sikyo. He always says, “Salamat po. Good morning, salamat. Good afternoon, salamat po. Salamat.” Two years ago, on a retreat, I spent some time again with…

Accept and Choose – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Luke 9:51-62, 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time There’s one priest from the probinsya who, whenever he arrives in Manila, he takes the airport shuttle to LRT 1, gets off at UN Avenue, and walks to Pius XII Center. Many diocesan priests from outside Manila usually get a room there when they visit. I don’t think…

Meal – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Luke 9:11b-17, Solemnity of Corpus Christi Let’s call them, “Tita Em” and “Fr. Sea.” Tita Em was the mom of Fr. Sea. She was very well loved and remembered not just by her own family, but also by her extended family—that is, Fr. Sea’s brothers in his religious community. When Tita Em was still alive,…

Choose Well – Arnel Aquino, SJ

John 10:27-30; Fourth Sunday of Easter On the same week, just days apart, I watched the movie “Avengers Endgame” and episode 3 of Game of Thrones. That’s like asking for a heart attack. That’s two major battles that take your breath away. Producers these days really know how to get into your head. They don’t…

Unless – Arnel Aquino, SJ

John 21:15-19, Third Sunday of Easter In ancient Greek, three words for love are commonly used. Eros means a physical, carnal kind of love, hence the word “erotic”. It’s the lowest kind of love. Secondly, philia, is most frequently used. Philia means warmth, affection. It implies deep friendship that goes beyond the merely physical. An English counterpart for philia would be “to cherish”, “affectionate tenderness,” “virtuous loving,” the love between best friends. Agape is a third word for love. It is…

Lost then Found – Arnel Aquino, SJ

John 20:1-9, Easter Sunday I grew up hearing many superstitions about Good Friday, all from my maternal lola. I will always remember her two most bizarre warnings. First: “Huwag kayong maglalaro sa labas ng bahay at kukunin kayo ng mga Hudyo.” I asked mom what a hudyo was. She said, “Sila ang pumatay kay Hesus!” I had watched black-and-white tv shows about the passion. So, I thought hudyo were the spear-toting, helmet-wearing, shield-protected soldiers who captured Jesus. Mali. Romans pala ‘yon. Incidentally, we weren’t spared on ordinary days either when lola would say, “Huwag kayong magulo! Sige, kukunin kayo ng Muslim!” Funny how…

Dead Wrong – Arnel Aquino, SJ

John 8:1-11, Fifth Sunday of Lent A month ago, a friend of mine was coming home from a wake of his friend’s dad. The man committed suicide, which was tragic in itself. But I don’t know which was more tragic: that a father committed suicide, or that none of the priests in the nearby parish…