Wednesday, August 16, 2017



Sa unang sulyap tila ang babae sa Mabuting Balita ay babaeng sawimpalad. Una, pinahihirapan ng demonyo ang kanyang mahal na anak. Sa kanyang kahinaan, bumaling siya sa nag-iisang lunas na mabisa. Hinanap niya ang Panginoong Hesukristo na kilala sa kabutihang loob at sa kapangyarihang magpagaling.

Subalit hindi dito natapos ang kanyang mga problema. Tila ayaw siyang pansinin ni Hesus at pati ang mga alagad ay gusto siyang ipagtabuyan. Dahil ito sa pagiging taga-Canaan ng babae; isang lahi na hindi itinuturing na kapantay ng mga purong Israelita. Dumanas siya ng diskriminasyon dahil sa lahi.

Pagkatapos pinaringgan pa siya ni Hesus na siya ay tila isang “aso” na hindi maaaring magkamit ng pagkaing para lamang sa mga anak ng tahanan. Dahil ba ito sa kanyang pagiging babae, isang nilalang na mas mababa sa mga kalalakihan? Bakit ang mga lalaking lumalapit ng tulong kay Hesus ay hindi nakakaranas ng ganitong pagtrato mula sa kanya? Dumanas ang babaeng ito ng diskriminasyon dahil sa kanyang pagiging babae.

Kung ang mga ito ang batayan, tiyak puputaktihin na ang Panginoon ng mga aktibista, bashers, maninira at mga troll sa social media. Isa itong tao na nagbabalewala sa mga dayuhan at sa mga kababaihan!

Pero bago tayo dumako sa ganitong panghuhusga, inaanyayahan tayo ng Salita ng Diyos na titigang muli ang babae – ang kanyang pagsusumikap at ang tatag ng kanyang puso. Hindi siya natinag sa ipinakitang ugali ni Hesus. Hindi niya pinansin ang tawag sa kanya. Seryoso lamang siya sa isang bagay at buo ang loob niyang kukunin ito. Natagpuan na niya si Hesus at hindi siya aalis hanggat hindi gumagaling ang kanyang mahal na anak na babae. Walang pagsubok na makapagpapaurong sa kanya!

Sa katunayan, ito ang nais ni Hesus na palutangin sa katauhan ng babae, ang makita ng lahat ang kanyang pananampalataya. Ang kanyang unang ipinakita sa babae at para lamang hamunin, hindi hamakin, ang babae. Sa huli, napasigaw si Hesus sa paghanga: Babae, dakila ang iyong pananampalataya (Mt. 15:28). Sa halip na alipustain ang babae, tunay na pinakinang ni Hesus ang pananampalatayang nananaig sa harap ng mga balakid at pagsubok sa buhay.

Minsan ba ay parang ayaw mo nang magtiwala at manampalataya kapag nagdarasal? Hinahayaan mo bang panghinaan ka ng loob dahil sa mga pagsubok? Ipagdasal nating magkaroon ng biyaya tulad ng babaeng ito. Sa totoo lang, hindi siya sawimpalad, kundi isang taong tunay na palaban! Sa halip na sawi, siya ay wagi!



At first glance, we can call this woman of today's gospel the woman of misfortunes! First, she is distraught that her daughter is tormented by a demon. In her helplessness, she turns to the only solution she thinks most effective. She seeks the Lord Jesus Christ who is known for his magnanimity and healing power.

However, finding Jesus was not the end of her troubles. She seems to be ignored even by Jesus and the disciples try dispose of her as a noisy nuisance. All these because she is a Canaanite, considered below par compared to the pure Israelite. She suffers a racist discrimination.

Even Jesus infers that she is like a “dog,” unworthy to share the benefits of children in the household. Was this because she is a woman, a person of unreliable reputation and lesser dignity than men? Notice that men who approach the Lord for healing favors are never treated the same way. She suffers a sexist prejudice.

Today's activists, bashers, and trolls will find in Jesus a favorite and justified target. Here is a man who throws his weight around foreigners and women! 

Before we can make that judgment though, God's Word invites us to focus our attention on the woman – her persistence and tenacity of spirit. She is not deterred by the initial indifference of Jesus. She ignores the stinging label applied to her. She is serious to get what she wants. She has found Jesus and she will not leave without getting what she wants for her beloved daughter. No trial will make her back out of her desire.

In fact, the Lord Jesus was actually trying to make this woman's faith shine for all to see. His initial actions toward her were meant to challenge her, not to disparage her. In the end, Jesus exclaims in admiration “Woman, great is your faith!” (Mt 15:28). Jesus, far from treating the woman bad, really wanted to highlight this faith that overcomes all obstacles!

Do we sometimes think of giving up on trust and faith when we pray? Do we allow trials to slacken our spirit and beat us down? Let us pray for the grace to become like the woman. After all, she was not a woman of misfortunes, but a person with a fiery fighting spirit!

Thursday, August 10, 2017





Wednesday, August 9, 2017


I very much liked his smile

In the two conclaves of 1978 the Archbishop of Manila was the youngest cardinal. Today he remembers...

by Cardinal Jaime L. Sin
Indeed time flies so fast. It was just like yesterday when I went to Rome to attend the two papal elections. It was Pope Paul VI of good memory who made me a cardinal in May of 1976. I was the youngest Cardinal then at 47 years old. Pope Paul VI was a serious but gentle Pope. He was very firm in upholding the teachings of the Church (as exemplified when he issued Humanae Vitae), but because of his diplomatic background, he was also a good listener. During the conclave following his death, I was still the youngest among the cardinals and so I was the doorkeeper. I was the one who attended to the needs of some of the elderly and infirm cardinals. I remember helping out Cardinal Albino Luciani of Venice one night. He was very simple, humble and meek. I liked his smile a lot. I took the palm of his hand pretending to know what the future holds for him. I joked that he will be the next pope. He was not happy about it and told me to go back to my room. The next day he was elected pope and history knew him as John Paul I, the smiling Pope. His reign was very short but created a lot of impact.
During the conclave that elected or present Pope, I was still the doorkeeper. I was seated near Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Poland. I noticed that he was very studious and reflective. He was quiet and preferred the background. He always carried a book (I think it was about philosophy). He never thought that he would be elected Pope. After all, we were used to an Italian Pontiff. But to his and the world’s surprise, he was elected the Vicar of Christ after several ballotings.
The world was anxious of the first Polish Pope in history. I guess he knew if that is why his first words during his coronation were: “Be not afraid!” True enough, we never fear for we have a brave, tireless and inspiring shepherd in Pope John Paul II. For the past twenty five years, John Paul II has led us in charity and holiness.
I join the whole world in thanking the Lord for sending us a great gift, a true shepherd, a vanguard of the faith, promoter of peace and champion of the human person. Viva il Papa!

thanks to:



Since I can remember, there has been a plethora of anecdotes about the biblical St. Peter, mainly focusing on his weakness, his impetuousness, his imprudence. And who is to blame for this but Peter himself. He mirrors back to us what is weak, lacking and wrong about our own selves. So at least, we should also reflect on ourselves too, when we begin to laugh at Peter's inconsistencies.

In today's gospel (Mt. 14), as soon as Peter sees Jesus walking on the water, he immediately wants to join him. When Jesus invited him to come forth, Peter's true colors came out; he did not fully trust the Lord. He began to sink!

There's an English expression called “the sinking feeling.” It refers to when you are suddenly, unexplainably, seized by a feeling that something is wrong, something bad is happening, something is remiss. And then you feel afraid that you will not be able to manage things. Peter's actual predicament equals the symbolic meaning of this expression. We too have sinking feelings because we are overwhelmed by the waves and winds of this life's oceans that we do not fully trust we can walk on water with Jesus.

It is a good thing though that Peter was quick-witted. For immediately, he recovered his bearings and shouted the most powerful prayer ever: Lord, save me! Realizing his lack of trust, Peter affirmed his total surrender to the one who alone can save him.

I remember Brother Sanny, who was with me on pilgrimage to the same place described in the gospel, the waters where Jesus walked. When we were there, he realized that he has been clinging to something of the past, something that hurt, something that impedes his growth. He has been carrying a few strands of hair of her daughter who died of leukemia many years back, a tragedy he could not seem to overcome.

Like Peter, on these waters, Brother Sanny took the hair from his wallet, and released them on the lake, surrendering everything finally to the Lord. His tears that day, were tears of joy and salvation because he learned to trust that his daughter is in God's hands and his life is precious to the Lord.

Do you have that “sinking feeling” about any are of your life? Like Peter and Sanny, why don't you cry out to the Lord: Lord save me – from depression, from addiction, from despair, from sickness, from pride and anger... Take hold of his hand because all he wants you to be is to be a water skier without the skis. With Jesus we can walk on water, too!



Mula pa noon, ang daming nang kuwento tungkol kay San Pedro, lalo na sa kanyang kahinaan, pagpapadalos-dalos at kakulangan sa paghusga sa mga bagay-bagay. At sino ang sisisihin kung ganito talaga si Pedro. Sinasalamin niya sa atin ang mahina, kulang, at mali sa ating mga sarili. Kaya nga kung pagtatawanan natin si Pedro, sana pag-isipan din natin ang ating sariling situwasyon.

Sa mabuting balita ngayon (Mt 14), nang makita ni Pedro ang Panginoong Hesus na lumalakad sa ibabaw ng tubig, agad niyang ninais na sumama dito. Nang anyayahan siya ng Panginoon, lumitaw ang tunay na kulay ni Pedro; kulang ang kanyang tiwala, at kaya siya ay unti-unting lumubog.

May kasabihan sa Ingles na “the sinking feeling”. Ito yung nagaganap kung bigla at di maipaliwanag na nakaramdam ka na may mali, may masama, may kakaibang nagaganap. At pagkatapos bigla kang dinapuan ng takot na baka hindi mo kayanin ito. Ang problema ni Pedro ay parang tulad ng kahulugan ng kasabihang ito: ang pakiramdam na ikaw ay lumulubog. Para tayong lumulubog dahil nahihintakutan tayo ng mga alon at hangin sa dagat ng buhay at hindi tayo lubos na makapagtiwala na kaya nating lumakad sa tubig kasama si Hesus.

Mabuti na lang at mabilis bumawi si Pedro. Bigla niyang naalalang isigaw ang napakamakapangyarihang panalangin: Panginoon, iligtas mo po ako! Nang maunawaan niyang kulang ang kanyang tiwala, pinalakas niya ito sa pamamagitan ng pagsuko sa nag-iisang maaaring magligtas sa kanya.

Kasama ko sa pilgrimage si Ka Sanny, doon sa tubig kung saan naganap ang himala ng ebanghelyo. Habang naroroon kami, naunawaan niya na kumakapit pala siya sa isang bagay sa nakaraan, isang bagay na nagdudulot ng sakit, isang bagay na nagpapabagal sa kanyang pag-usad. Lagi niyang dala ang ilang pirasong buhok ng kanyang anak na dalaga na namatay sa leukemia; isang kamatayang hindi niya matanggap at malimutan.

Tulad ni Pedro, sa ibabaw ng tubig, hinugot ni Ka Sanny ang mga buhok sa kanyang wallet, ikinalat sa tubig at sa wakas, isinuko niya ang lahat sa Panginoon. Ang kanyang mga luha noong araw na iyon ay mga luha ng kagalakan at kaligtasan dahil natuto siyang muli na magtiwala. Ang kanyang anak ay ligtas sa kamay ng Diyos at ang kanyang buhay ay mahalaga sa Panginoon.

Para ka bang lumulubog minsan? Tulad ni Pedro at Sanny, bakit hindi mo subukang magdasal: Panginoon,iligtas mo ako – sa kalungkutan at paninimdim, sa adiksyon, sa kawalang-pagasa, sa karamdaman, sa galit at kayabangan... Sunggaban ang kamay ng Panginoon dahil nais niyang maging tagumpay kang maglakad sa ibabaw ng tubig ng buhay! Kaya nating lumakad sa ibabaw ng mga alon, kasama si Hesus!

Thursday, August 3, 2017



How media set the standard of beauty to almost unreachable heights! Doesn’t television bombard us with the clamor for the flawless skin, lighter complexion, toned muscles and perfect set of teeth? Do we not long to live in the ideal home where the living room, the bath, and the garden suit the demands of comfort and aesthetics? The master chefs around the world promote healthy and natural food that tastes delish and looks irresistible.

There is nothing wrong to admire or aspire for beauty. The unhealthy obsession with it however, brings frustration, sadness and depression to so many people today. How many people feel condemned because they do not possess the curvaceous body or six-pack abs, do not live in palatial surroundings, and cannot afford to dine luxuriously in the latest launched restaurant or hotel?

Jesus reveals the true and resplendent beauty in today’s gospel of the ascencion (Mt. 17). As he was transformed into a glorious appearance, God the Father could not but exclaim in admiration: This is my beloved Son! Moses and Elijah awoke from their heavenly repose to be close to the dazzling spectacle. And the disciples were captivated they thought this was the apex of all experiences. This is the beauty of God – the beauty of Jesus of Nazareth.

We can ask the question though: what is so beautiful in a carpenter turned vagabond preacher? What is so attractive in one who owned nothing, lived nowhere, and survived by eating in other people’s parties? In the standard of the world, Jesus of Nazareth cannot exemplify beauty and glory. The world sees beauty only on the surface and digging deep is not part of its responsibility.

God appreciates real beauty, lasting beauty, inner beauty. For God, the real worth of a person is not in what he wears, how he looks, where he lives, and what he eats. Beauty, for God, is what resides in the heart, the goodness and kindness that flow from it. Jesus’ inner beauty manifests itself to those simple enough not to be attached to externals, to those keen enough to question what is behind the veneer or surface of people or things.

What is your standard of beauty? Do you prize external trappings or do you pursue the internal worth of people or things? Do you believe you are beautiful even if you are not perfect? Can you see the beauty of God within you?