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…

Triggers – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Luke 4:1-13, First Sunday of Lent In the past couple of months on different occasions, three friends of mine told me that they finally deactivated their Facebook accounts. The latest one was a priest-friend, a very eloquent and dynamic professor of theology at their seminary in the province. “I’ve finally taken myself out of Facebook,” he said. “When it’s the online bickering for and…

Work to Do – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Luke 6:1-6;16-18, Ash Wednesday In Loyola School of Theology, I teach a course called Introduction to Sacramental Theology. We recently finished our lesson on the Eucharist. But something’s still stuck in my head about the Last Supper, that last “Eucharistic celebration” Jesus had with his friends the night before he died. Did you notice that in the Last Supper, Jesus gave communion to Peter and…

”Love” thy Enemy – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Luke 6:27-38, Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time In the time of Jesus, the slap most commonly done was a backhanded slap. A backhanded slap was what masters gave slaves, or commanders gave soldiers, or centurions gave Jews. A backhanded slap, therefore, was not only a punishment, but also a reminder of status: “I am master, you’re…

Language of Love – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Mark 8:22-26, Wednesday of Week 6 in Ordinary Time Jesus knew the law very well. He knew it since he was 12. So, he was well aware that he was committing a triple whammy of impurities that day. Whammy #1: he talked to a blind man, whom the law considered unclean. Then, he touched him…

Emptiness – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Luke 5:1-11, Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time Don’t you find it strange that right after a huge catch of fish, Peter suddenly falls on his knees before Jesus and makes a confession: “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man”? You know, sisters and brothers, in almost all the retreatants I have accompanied…

Never Abandoned – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Mark 6:1-6, Wednesday of Week 4 in Ordinary Time We have a dear, dear lady who works for us, Nancy. She’s by far one of the most industrious people I’ve met in my Jesuit life. She’s in her early 30s, shorter and much thinner than I. But she’s a dynamo. She’s always doing chores. Even…