That I May Smile All My Life – Johnny Go, SJ

Mark 8:38-48, 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time This reflection was written in 2015. I am reposting this because Pope Francis needs our prayers as he faces vicious attacks even from within the Church. I’m reading the new book from Filipino priest-poet, Fr. Albert Alejo, SJ, Nabighani. It’s a lovely book of religious poetry translated into Filipino and guaranteed to…

Turning the Tables on God – Johnny Go, SJ

Mark 7:31-37, 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time I’ve been thinking about Cristy these days.  I don’t think I will ever forget what I saw when I last visited her in the hospital.  I had been warned about her, but I was shocked anyway.  She wasn’t at all the Cristy I knew.  Her cancer had ravaged…

Hook, Line and Sinker – Johnny Go, SJ

John 6:51-58, 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Last night someone who had gone to an anticipated Sunday Mass bumped into me and surprised me with his reaction.  He said:  “The Bread of Life?!  Again?!” He’s right.  This is the third Sunday that the Gospel reading has been about the Bread of Life–and what he doesn’t know yet…

Hunger in a Time of Abundance – Johnny Go, SJ

John 6:24-35, 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time Our Gospel today is literally good news. Our Lord makes us an important promise: “Whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” Jesus is not talking about physical hunger or physical thirst, obviously. Rather, he is referring to an existential hunger…

Gather the Crumbs – Johnny Go, SJ

John 6:1-15, 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time What a nightmare scenario:  Five loaves, two fish–and five thousand hungry people!  But trust the Lord to turn every event organizer’s worst nightmare into an unforgettable affair! What struck me most this time around, however, was not what happens during the miracle, but after it:  As the people sit on the…

Cramping the Lord’s Style – Johnny Go, SJ

Mark 6:1-6, 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time Do we ever cramp the Lord’s style? I suspect that’s what happens in the scene we have in the Gospel today.  Jesus goes back to his hometown and preaches at the village synagogue.  Not an easy thing to do since he’s surrounded by people he’s grown up with,…

Between this Goodbye and the Next Hello – Johnny Go, SJ

Mark 16:15-20, Solemnity of the Ascension of The Lord This parting with the disciples as the Lord is taken up to heaven–that makes two goodbyes in a row. A little over a month earlier, they’ve just been through that long, emotional goodbye at the Last Supper, the night of the Lord’s arrest and the eve…

I was Ten when I met Jesus – Johnny Go, SJ

John 15:9-17, Sixth Sunday in Easter I was ten when I met Jesus, but I was too young to know. We were on our way to Baguio for the summer, and we had left the house right before sunrise. My parents would take us children there every year to escape the sweltering heat of Manila, and…

Branches – Johnny Go, SJ

John 15:1-8, Fifth Sunday of Lent Branches have stories to tell and lots of lessons to teach. The one year I lived in London, there was a tree outside my room window that I got to know pretty well. I used to sit before that tree, prayer book or coffee mug in hand. In the…

Easter Jesus – Johnny Go, SJ

Luke 24:35-48, Third Sunday of Easter Today we have yet another Easter appearance. From the different appearances the Risen Lord makes to his disciples, a pattern emerges. It is the same person, but somehow he looks different because all who have seen him don’t recognize him immediately–from Mary Magdalene outside the empty tomb to the…

What’s your “Unless” – Johnny Go, SJ

John 20:19-31, Divine Mercy Sunday It’s a well-known story. Thomas misses out on Jesus’ debut appearance to the disciples and hears them make the far-fetched claim that they “have seen the Lord!” It’s not the first time such a claim has been made: There are the women, those early Sunday morning visitors at the tomb probably…

Easter Fear or Joy – Johnny Go, SJ

John 20:1-9, Easter Sunday 2018 What is remarkable about this Gospel story is the emotion that the women experienced as a result of their discovery of the empty tomb: Fear. I wasn’t expecting that. We are told that the women were so afraid they said nothing to anyone– exactly the opposite of what the angels…