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…

And Yet – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Matthew 4:12-23; 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time When we were younger Jesuits, we were often asked what it felt to be “called” by God. I turned 54 this month and have been a Jesuit for 30 years; the question has barely come up. Were I ever  to be asked again what it feels to be…

Sense of Place – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Matthew 3:13-17, Baptism of our Lord “I need to be baptized by you and yet you are coming to me?” That’s how I imagine John to have said that. It’s highly unlikely he said it that way, though, with the personal pronouns in italics. But the point is John did not expect Jesus, the Messiah…

Whistleblower – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Matthew 3:1-12, 2nd Sunday of Advent John the Baptist was the whistleblower in an echo chamber. The phrase “echo chamber” has been around for a long time, esp. in the field of acoustics. But it’s only been in the past four or five years that it has become a metaphor, especially with the advent of…

The Better Choice – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Matthew 24:37-44; First Sunday of Advent I was one of the 174 million people who watched Avengers: Infinity War last year. So,  P300 of the US$2 billion that Marvel Studios made—was mine! But when half the Avengers started “ashifying,” along with half of all human life in the universe, leaving us all without a happy…

Kings and Kingdoms – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Luke 23:35-43, Christ the King When the Jews heard Jesus of Nazareth preach, “the Kingdom of God this, the Kingdom of God that, the Kingdom of God the other” they thought­ they knew what he was talking about. Jews were familiar with “kingdoms,” two, in fact: the kingdom of Rome, an autocracy, and, the kingdom…

Reset – Arnel Aquino, SJ

Luke 21:5-19, 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time If you go to Wikipedia and search “list of dates predicted for apocalyptic events,” you’ll see that the specific dates of the world’s end has been predicted at least 190 times by many, many individuals from the 1st millennium until today. The forecasters range from cult leaders to Christian mystics, from Catholic bishops and saints (like Hilary of Poitiers, Martin of Tours, Irenaeus) to Protestants (Martin Luther, John…