Isn’t Doubt Good? – Francis Alvarez SJ

“I have doubts about my faith.” More than a few times, I have been approached with this concern. My usual reply: “What do you mean by having doubts? If you mean you have questions about your faith, then congratulations! It is good that you have questions about your faith. This is a sign that you…

When Is It Enough? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

There are many ways to read the Word of God. A dangerous way would be to read Scripture literally. “From the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic,” Jesus says in our Gospel today. Tell that to someone being robbed. A more responsible way to read God’s word would be to…

Can You Join The Christmas Movement? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

“Talo ka sa lolo ko….” Not only can jokes of this type make you slap your knee in laughter, they can also make you stroke your chin in thought. This is humor which tickles your funny bone and at the same time, touches something deep inside of you, something raw, something that makes you flinch….

Should We Still Hail Kingship? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

In our modern (some would say post-modern, or even post-post-modern) world, when monarchy is mainly for ceremony, does the Feast of Christ the King still have meaning? As we let this and then that fad lord it over our lives, as we bow to fleeting trifles, maybe there is an even greater need to remind…

What Are Your Blessings For? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

Luke 1:57-66, 80, Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist Oscar Wilde tells the parable of a supercilious rocket so enamored with his pedigree and potential that he shed copious tears while talking about himself. Alas, his tears dampened his gunpowder. When his time came to be lit, he was too wet and…

Where Is God? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

When Jesus dies in the Gospel according to Mark, the centurion at the foot of the cross exclaims, “Truly, this man was the Son of God!” We should not project onto that Roman officer’s words what we believe today about the divinity of Christ: eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light,…

What Does It Mean To Have Authority? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

Mark 1:21-28, Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time Twice in our Gospel today, Jesus is described as someone with authority. But he did not hold any position in the community like the elders or the scribes. Nor did he have power like the chief priests and the Romans. What does it mean to have authority? “He…

Do You Really Want God As Your Shepherd? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

In our first reading today, God tells us, “I myself will look after and tend my sheep… I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered when it was cloudy and dark” (Ezekiel 34:11-12). God is not an absentee lord but a hands-on shepherd who cares for each and every one of us in a…

Are You Really Seeking The Truth? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

Matthew 22;15-21, 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God” (Matthew 22:21). This verse has launched many heated discussions and tirades about the relationship between religion and the state. But I do not think Jesus set out to pronounce something definitive about faith and politics…

Do you sometimes feel that God is unfair? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

Matthew 10:1-16, 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time A landowner goes out at dawn and hires laborers to work in his vineyard. He does the same at 9:00 am, 12:00 noon, 3:00 pm, and 5:00 pm. That evening, those who  started working at 5:00 pm are given a full day’s wage. Those who started working at…

What About God Are You Not Yet Ready For? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

Matthew 16:13-20, 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time “He strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ” (Matthew 16:20). In our Gospel today, Simon Peter correctly identifies who Jesus is – he is the Messiah, the Son of the living God. But then Jesus forbids Simon Peter and the other disciples to…

Why Let The Bad Mix With The Good? – Francis Alvarez, SJ

Matthew 13:24-43, 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time “…if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest…” (Matthew 13:29-30). I read our Gospel today, and I remember the spicy surprise that met a Jesuit who transplanted sprigs of basil beside some sili. After a few weeks,…