Sunday, November 25, 2007

with joy..

The cliche says that we have to give until it hurts!

But why not give until it has become a joy to do so?

Jesus looked around and saw rich people dropping their gifts in the Temple treasury, and he also saw a very poor widow dropping in two little copper coins. He said, "I tell you that this poor widow put in more than all the others. For the others offered their gifts from what they had to spare of their riches; but she, poor as she is, gave all she had to live on." (Lk. 21,1-4)

it rained...

There was an overcast sky when I arrived (together with Bros. Tony, Joey, Ben and his wife, Sis. Lourdes) at the Parish of St. Thomas Aquinas, Mangaldan, Pangasinan, the host for this year's Cristo Rey celebration. We parked at the school grounds. It was around quarter to two in the afternoon.

I noticed Tony and Joey brought their umbrellas. I brought mine, too.

The procession started on time. With the sun behind the clouds, it was the best time to have the procession, I said to myself. I heard the same observation from other devotees.

The drizzle came about 20 minutes into the procession. Some opened their umbrellas. Fr. Agoy Mejia opened his. I did, too.

The drizzle soon stopped.


The mass was celebrated. There were about two to three thousand who came to the celebration. The homilist commented that there was a drizzle as we were having the procession. He prayed that it would not rain! Although he said, "seguro!" (probably).

He had not gone halfway in his homily when the rains poured in! And the umbrellas were opened! The rains did not stop until the end of the mass. And yet, the people did not move away nor leave!

Viva Cristo Rey!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Strength from God!

Sister Naty, an old but still very active woman from Brgy. Anonang, had a happy look on her face. I saw her approaching. Her strides suddenly became livelier.

"Father, she is now eating! Father, she is getting stronger!"

"Who is...?

"Idiay na-sick call yo ngay, Father!" Her voice filled with excitement about her report to me: the old woman I gave the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick was getting stronger!

"When she woke up after you gave the sacrament, she was looking for you, Father! Then she ate!"

O, the joys of the priesthood!

Cristo Rey!

Cristo Rey will be celebrated tomorrow, 25 November. The Vicariate (Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary) celebration will in the Parish of St. Thomas Aquinas, Mangaldan, Pangasinan. It is the host for this year's celebration. The three other vicariates of the Archdiocese will have their own Cristo Rey celebrations.

Yesterday, I celebrated an afternoon mass in the host parish. I presided over the 8th day of the novena in honor of Christ the King. The Apostles of the Divine Mercy were the main group who came for the novena. Each day of the nine days, a different group would come.

At the end of the mass, a parishioner came. With a concerned look, he said, "Father, I hope it would not rain on Sunday!"

On Sunday, the day of the celebration, a big procession is scheduled at two o'clock in the afternoon. And since it is expected that there would be a huge number of people coming from the different parishes of the Vicariate, the Holy Mass will be celebrated outside the Parish Church.

"When it rains ....?" he further said.

"Let's pray that it will not", I told him.

Tyhoon "Mina," which packs maximum sustained winds of 175 kilometers per hour near the center, and gusts of up to 210 kilometers per hour, is expected to make a landfall tomorrow evening. Pangasinan may not be directly at the path of the super-typhoon but it may bring rains that may dampen the celebration.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

"deadly" request

The Funeral Mass was scheduled at 9 AM. The deceased was a young man. He died suddenly from an accident.

I received a call from the parish office a few minutes before the mass.

A man was there with a special request.

"Father, is it possible that before you celebrate the funeral mass, you solemnize first the marriage of N., (the name of the deceased) with his fiancee?"

No answer.

Persistent request: "They intended to get married soon. But he died so suddenly. Is it possible, Father?"

Persistent answer: Silence.

I wonder how the dead can give a consent, answer clearly and truthfully, and finally make the vows of marriage "until death" (when he is already dead)?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Billboards and Heaven

Billboards proclaim so many concerns as well as create so many needs.

They compete for our attention. They attract our senses. They let us follow them.

Billboards adorn the skies now. They block the otherwise beautiful clouds that decorate the heavens. They hide the endless figures beautifying God's creation.

We have so many concerns and needs created by man for man. Many times, they block our view of God's glory and majesty. His generosity and kindness. Mercy and love. They are like the billboards. Instead of leading us to the Almighty, they lead us away, block us from God, and hide God from us!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Waiting for nobody!

It is a concrete structure found in main highways and roads, and in all the barangays of the town. The "Waiting Shed" is a familiar structure. Its main purpose is to provide a shelter for the people while waiting for a ride. The most common means of transportation in the barrios is the tricycle. Then, there is the popular jeepney. And lately, the kolig-lig.

Bolaoen is one of the thirty-four barangays of the town. Since it is a barangay, it cannot be without its own "Waiting Shed"! Of course!

But I wonder what the "Waiting Shed" in Bolaoen is for?

The main place where we have our monthly mass can only be reached by taking the "Hanging Bridge". The Bolaoen Bridge can only hold people; not tricycles, not jeepneys, not the kolig-lig.

Then, why is there a "Waiting Shed" in Barangay Bolaoen?

(Check out the Bolaoen link and you will understand why).

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

“Be not deceived...”

And they asked him, "Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign when this is about to take place?" And he said, “See that you not be deceived..(Lk. 21,7-8)

“See that you not be deceived..” when man’s dignity is measured by the quality of his life. When man is determined by the kind of life he is living, or even, by the kind of life he will be living. Thus, one's life becomes more meaningful only because he is healthy. Or, one is more dignified because of the wealth he has and the power he wields. Thus, we find that abortion is now justified because the unborn is certainly going to be disabled! Or, that one is “allowed” to die (a euphemism for euthanasia) because of the pain and the suffering one is undergoing. But we ask: can a man become less a man because he has no money and no power? Because he is sick and old?

“See that you not be deceived..” when man is used to attain a material, passing entity, such as wealth, power and pleasure. It debases man’s dignity when he is bought and bribed in exchange for favors that usually are illicit and illegal! That is why there is condemnation of the traffic and prostitution of women and children because they have become means of achieving pleasure!

“See that you not be deceived..” when prophets come proclaiming that money can buy everything! That money is more important than man, that power has to be achieved at the expense of the lives of men, at the expense of principles and morality, that the state exists to be served at all costs, and not to protect, nourish and defend the lives of the individual citizens.

“See that you not be deceived..” when the end justifies all means. Thus, it is OK to tell a lie if only to escape a responsibility and the consequence of one's actions. It is OK to steal if only to have an easy and luxurious, wealthy life. It is OK then to have wealth without work, without social obligations, without conscience! Is it, really?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Matters of Consequence

When a wrong is repeatedly done, it somehow becomes tolerable for the many, and for the wrongdoer.

When the tolerable action is further repeated, it becomes not only tolerable, it becomes "the normal" action; the wrong has become a "right".

When the wrong has become right, eventually it becomes, to our desensitized consciences, the moral standard. The basis for which our succeeding actions are founded.

And when the very foundation of our actions is immoral, what kind of fruits will our actions, our way of life, bear?


Lest we forget:

It is NOT the normal way for government officials to receive cash, without proper receipts and vouchers. Unless, the "gift" is a bribe. And bribery is illegal and immoral.

It is NOT the usual way that public officials are elected by cheating through manipulations and erasures of public documents. Unless, one is a cheat and a liar. And cheating and lying are wrong and immoral.

It is NOT the regular way that during elections, votes are bought and sold. Unless, the buyer has no respect for the dignity of the voter, and the voter does not value his vote. For vote buying and selling are illegal, and immoral.

It is NOT a practice that a government official usually promises to somebody that "may 200 ka dito". Unless, one is a thief. And stealing is wrong and immoral.

It is NOT the standard of the justice system that a convicted plunderer, is given immediate pardon without the latter admitting guilt and remorse. Unless, the President is named Arroyo, and the convicted plunderer is Erap. For Arroyo and Erap are .....

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fear not!

I saw them from the window of the Parish Office. Three boys and two girls. High School students as could be seen from their uniforms. It was only half past two in the afternoon. Why would they be out of school at this early?

They were in a huddle. One of them was arguing with the others. The others were trying to convince her of something.

I went out and walked towards them.

"Agka natatakot! Sigue labat!" I overheard one of them told the lone "dissenter". "Do not fear! Just do it!"

I would have told them instead: Be very afraid! If you plan to do something you believe is wrong! But "Fear not!" if you do what is right and good!

Fear not in telling the truth! Fear not in forgiving somebody! Fear not in loving another!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Cycle

Once it begins, it goes around, and around. It never stops -- only because it is following a cyclic path.

"Agko amta no akin et pinatey da may unaan." An authority in the town remarked as he referred to the unkown motive why a murder was committed in the town.

San Fabian is a peaceful, rural town. Almost idyllic. It is located along the shores of the famous Lingayen Gulf. It has pristine beaches. Calm seas. People frolicking in the beaches during weekends. San Fabian has beautiful mountains, too. Hills still covered by large trees. Rivers from the Cordillera Mountains continously flow, irrigating her farmlands. Providing the much needed water in these times of dry spell.

"Balet, saya so kumadua so ginawa et petang na ulo!" Again, referring to the second death, barely two weeks after the first. He was saying that the second death was done out of anger.

There may be more deaths coming. Who knows?

But as long as the cycle of violence continues its murderous path, death being sought in anger and out of revenge, more blood will flow in this otherwise idyllic, peaceful town. The violence can go on and on because it follows a cyclic path. Death is met by death. Life for life.

But there is a better way.

Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. (Mt. 18, 21-22).

Thursday, September 13, 2007


The day after the verdict, everybody was talking about it. "Erap guilty of plunder" was the headline of one newspaper.

"Father, a-karma si Erap, awa?"

"This goes to show that whatever you sow, you will reap." Added another "philosopher" parishioner .

"What ever evil you do will haunt you, if not in this life, then in the next!" Declared another "theologian" parishioner .

"Talagan a-karma si Erap, Father." It was said with finality.

Karma is a concept in Hinduism which explains causality through a system where beneficial effects are derived from past beneficial actions and harmful effects from past harmful actions, creating a system of actions and reactions throughout a person's reincarnated lives.

Of course, we Christians do not believe in the Law of Karma. Although we believe that we are responsible for our actions, and the consequences brought about by those actions.

But we believe in God, not in Karma. When we fail and when we sin, our God listens to our cries of repentance.

"Lord, have mercy". We cry to God.

In His mercy and love, God forgives us.

Karma as a Law is never personal. It can not and will never forgive.

John 3,16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Sunday, September 02, 2007

"Losing" Jesus

The story is told about a man who was searching for a lost key. He had been at it for quite a while, looking under the bright light of his room. He looked around every nook and corner of the room. Still no key.

A friend came.

"What are you doing?" He asked.

"I lost my key. It must be here somewhere" He replied.

The friend then started to look for the missing key, helping turn over books and papers. Still no key.

After a while, the friend said," We have been looking for that key for several hours. Where did you lose it anyway?"

The reply: "I lost it in the other room. I am here looking for it because the other room is dark."


We can "lose" Jesus. He has been with us when we were young; when we grew up. Then, we realize, we have "lost" Him. We lost him when we entered politics and compromised our Faith. We lost him when we became businessmen and started to steal. We lost him when at the height of our power, we destroyed other people. We lost Him in drugs. We lost Him in gambling.

Now we wonder. Can we still find Jesus?

Where will we find Him?

If we lost Him in politics, we can find Jesus by serving well our people. If we lost Him in our business dealings, we can find Jesus still in being honest and true in our business ventures. If we lost Jesus in a failed relationship, we can find Him by learning to trust more people and caring for them.

We can find Jesus where we "lost" Him!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Away from the Light

He insisted that there was nothing wrong with his white shirt. That it was clean. In fact, he said out loud, "It is so clean, I can not see a single dirty spot nor any stain on it!"

He stood in front of everybody,smiling. Proud of his immaculately white shirt.

However, everybody was straining to see the shirt. Their eyes squinting. How could they see the shirt when it was dark?

"Will somebody turn on the light, please." Somebody at the back requested.

The lights were turned on. Enveloping with glaring light, illuminating all and everything in the room. Including, of course, the immaculately white shirt.

Which when seen against the light, the shirt was not after all clean and without stain. Against the light that illumined everything, the shirt was clearly seen as dirty and needed to be washed.
The closer we are to the Light, the more we see how unclean we are. The closer we are to the Most Holy God, the more we realize how sinful we are.

The farther we are from the Light, the less we are able to see how unclean we are. The farther we are from God, the Most Holy One, the less we acknowledge our sinfulness.

"Father, forgive me for I have sinned. It has been ten years since my last confession." The voice on the other side of the box murmured nervously. I said to myself: "This would be a long confession".

"I told lies. I disobeyed my parents. I spoke bad words. These are all, Father."

Ten years of being away from God. Ten years but no sin to confess.


I wonder why when we veer away from the sacraments and away from God, suddenly we have "no sins" at all.
But people who have experienced the holiness of God see how unworthy they are in their sinfulness.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Just enough!

"Mapangasi so Dios tan maabagey!" It was a statement of faith shared by those who were in the prayer meeting. God is so merciful. God is so good.

"When we prayed for the rains that we truly need, God answered our prayers!"

"Mapangasi so Dios tan maabagey!" The group again nodded in faith.

"But it seems, God overdid it!" One of them said in jest. "Adelap-delap met iray arum a pasen. Tan wala ni ra so inatey!"

The others laughed with him in agreement as they listened to him enumerate the places which were flooded, the dikes breached, and human lives and crops destroyed.

"Why?" The old man in the circle asked the group, to no one in particular. "Why would people die and suffer because of the rains we asked from God? The rains are blessings from God. They are sent by God for our good. Our lands are blessed too by the rains. Now we can plant."

"God gives us what we need. Always."

"I've been asking for money, why have I not received one yet? "

Everybody laughed at that statement.


"It's because that is not what you need. You only like it. But not what you truly need", the old man said again.

"Then why are their floods because of the rains we asked from God?"


The old man: "God gives us what we need. God always gives us just enough rain for us to plant and for our plants to grow and nourish us."


The old man, again: "The floods came because of man's misuse of nature."

Somebody quipped, "Our canals are already clogged by plastic and garbage."

Another: "The money that is to be used for the dikes is diverted to the pockets of our politicians! That is why, every time typhoons and storms come, the dikes collapse".

Still another: "Greed. This is the cause of the floods. And the death of innocent people."

"Lack of concern for the others."
God gives us everything we need. But we have lost almost everything because we believe we are not accountable. We are not responsible.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Answered Prayers!

Residents of Makukuli, Inmalog Norte held a procession, praying for rains. Inmalog Norte is one of the upland barangays of the parish. It relies on the rains for the farmers to be able to till their lands, and plant their crops.

They cried to God for rains!

It has been a while since their rice lands had been softened and nourished by the rains.

We prayed for rains in the purok mass in Brgy. Anonang, just at the boundary between Brgy. Anonang and Brgy. Binday, two of the well-irrigated barrios. Waters from the karayan of upland Brgys. Colisao and Ambalangan-Dalin flow freely down to these villages. This time, however, the river flows are being rationed out.

"Awanen, Father, ti danum idiay karayan", an old woman told me before we began our mass. She looked worried about the lack of rains and the waters in the river drying up.

"Manpikasi tayo na uran!" I told the small congregation. Everybody nodded in agreement.


Bro. Rod with some of his friends were having small talk before our mass in their village. Brgy. Aramal is blessed with wide, open rice fields. Bro. Rod and his friends were worried. The lack of rain has hampered their planting schedule.

Bro. Rod told the group, "Mabli so bomba na danum". All agreed. It is expensive to pump water for the rice fields. They would not be able to recover their expenses; they might even be more in debt!

"Let us pray for rain", I told the congregation of Brgy. Aramal, as I intoned the sign of the cross for the mass.

After the mass, I looked up and saw dark clouds forming. We hurriedly boarded the parish jeep. I waved at Bro. Rod and friends as we sped away. They were looking up, longing for the rains to come.

We barely made to the parish church before the rains started to pour!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Signs of the End!

I was having a conversation with three ladies over some merienda after my mass.

"Father, it has not rained for a long time. This has not happened for a while."

" And, Father, the other day, there was an earthquake. There had not been an earthquake since 1990!"

"Did you read the disaster in the US? A bridge collapsed, killing 9 people!"

"Father, these are signs." The first lady said as a matter of fact. Knowingly. And nodding, for special effect.

"Signs?" I asked, wondering what signs she was talking about and if ever, what reality do they point to.

"Signs, Father... signs of the end of times", she prophesied.

And the other two, nodded in agreement.

Oratio Imperata ad fluviam petendam

In the light of the pressing need of our people for the gift of rain, the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan upon the instruction of Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz, DD, JCD, will be invoking the mercy of God in all Eucharistic celebrations starting the evening mass of the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 5 August 2007. The following will be the Intercessory Prayers during the masses, in English and Pangasinan:

Oratio Imperata ad Fluviam Petendam (Obligatory Prayer Begging for Rain)

Presider: Heavenly Father, you are the Lord of Creation and the source of all blessings. With a Father's care you provide for all our needs. With confidence we come seeking your blessings in our troubled times as we say:


Leader: You have made us stewards of creation , but we have at times been irresponsible and have not take good care of your gifts. And so we pray.

Leader: You have the given the goods of the earth for the benefit of all. But at times we have been greedy and selfish and have taken advantage of the weak, and so we pray.

Leader: You provide for all the needs of your creation, even the birds of the air and fishes of the seas and rivers seek your providence. We, your children, in our great need beg for rain to enable us to plant and till our lands. And so we pray.

Leader: Your prophet Elijah of old brought Israel back to true worship of you after which you sent them the rain they so wanted. We now also turn our back on our evil ways and seek to worship you in truth. We beseech You bless us with the rain we need. And so we pray.

Presider: Loving Father, all times and seasons follow your will. Grant us the rain that we need. We make this prayer through the one who even makes the wind and waves obey Him, Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Oration Imperata para say Isabi na Uran

Pangulo: Dios a walad tawen, Sika so Katawan na amin a pinalsa tan sobol na amin ya bendision. Diad say maaman panangasikasom, iiter mod sikami so amin ya nakaukolan mi. Sitatalek kami ya onkekerew na bendision mo ed sarayan masigen ya panaon, tan sikami so manpipikasi:


Lider: Pinagmaliw mo kamin manangasikaso na amin pinalsam. Balet, mabetbet ya napapaulyan mi so nepeg min gawaen tan agmi insasikaso iray langkap mod sikami. Kanian, sikami so manpipikasi.

Lider: Inter mo so bunga na mundo para say pankamaungan na amin. Mabetbet balet a sikami so maagom, masiblet tan maanbuso na saray mairap tan anggapoy pakayari. Kanian, sikami so manpipikasi.

Lider: Iiter mod sikamin amin so nakaukolan na amin a pinalsam. Anggad saray manok na tawen tan sira na dayat tan saray ilog so onkekerew na panangasikasom. Sikami ran anak mo unong ed say kabaleg na pangkaukolan mi so manpipikasi na isabi na saray uran pian makapantanem kami. Kanian, sikami so manpipikasi.

Lider: Pinasimbalo nen Elias a propitam so Israel ed say tuan panangidayew ed Dios, insan mo inbaki so uran ya pirpirawat da. natan, benegan mi ray mauges ya kagagawa mi tan idayew mi kad katwaan. Kerewen mi, bendisionan mo kami na say uran ya peteg min nakaukolan. Kanian, sikami so manpipikasi.

Presider: Mapangaron Ama, amin ya panaon so ontutulok ed Sika. Iter mod sikami so uran ya ipipikasi mi. Kekerewen mi ya diad panamegley na Anak mon Jesuskristo ya anggad saray dagem tan daluyon so ontutulok ed sikato, a Katawan mi ed ando lan ando. Amen.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Dry Spell!

The rice fields are parched! They have become hard as stones. The pagey are wilting. Some have dried up. Without water, they die.

It has been several weeks now since the last heavy rainfall.

"Ampetang, Father!" Some parishioners would tell me. How hot the weather has become.

"Anggapo ni uran! Amagaan laray dalin. Agka mi ni akatanem!" Farmers come to tell that they have not yet tilled the field nor planted yet.

No rains!

When will the rains come?

Miss me - but let me go!

Separation from a beloved is painful. I remember when I entered the Minor Seminary in Binmaley, Pangasinan as a 12 year old boy how painful it was to be separated from my family for the first time. It was a painful ache that longed to be soothed; but it would not go away. There was a melancholic longing for the familiar against the backdrop of the unfamiliar, new surroundings of the seminary.

Separation from a loved one because of death is much more difficult and much more painful to bear. The longing for the beloved is more intense, more painful, and the ache, more heartrending. How much we miss the beloved and long for the familiar warmth and soothing voice, the loving presence and the idle talk.

How can we bear all this?

We only have to let go.

Miss me -- but let me go
Author Unknown

When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no rites in a gloom-filled room.
Why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little--but not too long
And not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that we once shared,
Miss me--but let me go.

For this is a journey that we all must take
And each must go alone.
It's all a part of the Master's plan,
A step on the road to home.

When you are lonely and sick of heart
Go to the friends we know
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds.
Miss Me--But Let me Go

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Cost of Discipleship

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him.
Mt. 10, 9
Matthew the tax collector rose and followed Jesus. At what cost?

At a cost of his personal security. As a tax collector working under the security of the Roman government, Matthew was protected by the government's forces. Even if he would abuse his power, nobody dared go against him. He was safely secured by the forces of the Roman Empire!

He lost that security.

At a cost of his financial security. As a tax collector, he had great wealth. Lived in excess. And with money came power.

He lost both.

Discipleship is costly. It is does not guarantee personal safety from those who want to harm the disciple. It does not guarantee an easy, luxurious life. For one follows, not out of material, financial concerns and profit. One becomes empty in order to be filled up by the treasures promised to the follower.

No wonder so few follow Jesus.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Anger and Mercy!

"But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment."

Mt. 5, 22.

He was shouting, using foul language. He was so angry, his face was so red. His actions and his words were hurting his friend. At first, his friend was unbelieving that he was being shouted at , and cursed, and insulted by a friend. He could not take it anymore; he began to get angry too. And soon, both were shouting, and cursing and insulting one another.

Sin does not just happen; it grows like a seed planted in one's heart. Then, it bears fruit.

Anger in the heart and anger in speech can provoke further anger. This is precisely the bottom line: unless it is mastered by God's grace, sin grows and chokes, and causes other to sin. Anger when met by anger further creates anger; hatred begets hatred. Just as sin begets sin. The devil expects that we respond to anger with anger; hared with hatred. Violence with violence.

What is the antidote to anger and rage?

Mercy, and kindness spring from a heart full of love and forgiveness.

God has forgiven us and he calls us to extend mercy and forgiveness towards those who cause us harm and grief. Only God’s love and grace can set our hearts and minds free from the tyranny of wounded pride and spiteful revenge.

Let the devil become disappointed in us when, instead of responding in anger and rage at the angry tirades hurled against, we show patience, compassion and mercy.

“May I be no man’s enemy, and may I be the friend of that which is eternal and abides.

May I never quarrel with those nearest me: and if I do, may I be reconciled quickly.

May I love, seek, and attain only that which is good. May I wish for all men’s happiness and envy none.

May I never rejoice in the ill-fortune of one who has wronged me. When I have done or said what is wrong, may I never wait for the rebuke of others, but always rebuke myself until I make amends.

May I win no victory that harms either me or my opponent. May I reconcile friends who are angry with one another.

May I never fail a friend who is in danger.

When visiting those in grief may I be able by gentle and healing words to soften their pain. May I respect myself. May I always keep tame that which rages within me. May I accustom myself to be gentle, and never be angry with people because of circumstances. May I never discuss who is wicked and what wicked things he has done, but know good men and follow in their footsteps.”

(Prayer of Eusebius, 3rd century)

Friday, April 27, 2007


In a fight between good and evil, one cannot remain neutral. We have to make the choice for that which is good. We have to influence others toward the good. We have to convince so many to fight for the good!

A neutral stance further strengthens the evil, and helps spread evil among us!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

"Aka-oley lay Dios!"

This young man was fuming mad! He had been ranting about how everything was not fair.

"It's not fair!" he said so many times.

It seemed that he had been at the receiving end of a cruel act. He was hurt. He wanted revenge! He wanted to let the "enemy" experience the same humilating pain he had undergone; the same trauma; if not more than what he had undergone.

He wanted to get even. He came full of anger. He cried in anger. I could sense the hatred that was boiling in his heart. He wanted revenge.

But he had no means, not even the power, to carry out his vengeful anger!

"Father, I want revenge! I know it is wrong; it is a sin. And i refuse now to get even. So I just prayed to God, 'Lord, I leave everything to you. Aka-oley lay Dios!"

I asked him, "What do you mean 'Aka-oley lay Dios' (I leave everything to God)?"

"Since you yourself refuse to carry out your revenge, are you asking God to exact revenge on your behalf?"

God is not a vengeful God who would want to punish the sinner. Instead, He is a Merciful God who wants the sinner to repent. To go back to the fold of the Father.

If we pray, "Akaoley ka la, Katawan" (I leave everything to you, Lord), we are not asking God to punish and destroy our enemy (although that is what we really want). What God wants is that the "enemy" repents, and receive His mercy. So God would shower our "enemy" with His unfathomable mercy and overflowing grace!

Our God is a Merciful God who rejoices over one repentant sinner!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Most Corrupt!

"Father, kababaing tayo!"

The old man told me how shameful we have become as a nation. He was reffering to the news that came out last week.

Data collected from interviews with over 1,476 business men who are operative throughout the Asian continent showed that the Philippines ranks first place among nations with the highest level of corruption. Close runners up China, Indonesia and Vietnam.

"How did we end up so?" He further asked.

"What have we done to our country?"

Questions that should be asked. Questions that should be answered.

Honestly. Truthfully. Painfully.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Truth hurts the un-true!

Our Parish BEC Coordinator told me, "Father, samay sakey ya kabiangan tayod BEC et agto la kuno. Mananap lay sananey a simbaan." He spoke almost in a whisper as he informed me that one of the members of the BEC was now looking for a new"church". She wanted out of the Church.

"Akin ey?" I asked. "Why?"

He explained, "Her son is running as a Councilman with the known Jueteng Lord of the town. She is hurting."


"She claimed that the church and even the priest (meaning 'me') is campaigning against the Jueteng Lord, and she does not want that. The chances of her son winning in the coming elections might diminish." He further told me.

I took a deep breath. We have been conducting Voters' Education as part of the Christian Formation Program of the parish since the end of January. I am personally going around and bringing the program of the parish "WALANG HIHINGI! WALANG TATANGGAP!" even to the farthest barrios.

"Father", our Coordinator said, "the truth really hurts. What we have been telling the people is the truth. Since she cannot accept the truth, and she has compromised her principles with one who is un-true, then she cannot but be hurt."

I nodded.

"She does not want to face the truth. Since she does not want to accept the challenge of the truth for her to remain true, the only way for her is run away from the truth," he continued.

How sad!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

To vote or not to vote!

"Ag ak manboto!" She told the group, with her fingers waving in the air to emphasize that she would NOT vote during the coming elections.

"Ampano man-pasnok so sakey no agko iboto." This time she said this with a confused and hurt look . She would not want to hurt the feelings of any of the political candidates. Thus, she would not vote.

Probably, for her, it is important that the candidates who are close to her heart, would not feel bad if one of them would not receive her vote; and if ever one of them would lose (which with certainty, one will surely lose), then she could claim that she was not a part of the reason why that particular friend-candidate lost.

I guess she is voting (or not voting, for that matter) for the sake of the political candidates.

She is wrong!

She should vote! Not for the sake of the candidates, but FOR HER SAKE! For the good of her CHILDREN! For the sake of the COMMUNITY!

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting and abstinence: no meat, and only one full meal for a day. It is the start of the season of Lent.

Since today is a special day, there are two masses scheduled for the day. One at 6AM and another at 4,30PM, after the Mother of Perpetual Help novena. There were unusually large number of parishioners who attended both masses. They received the ashes on their foreheads while the prayer was said: "Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel".

I only took one glass of water this morning before going to the barangay for the scheduled confessions and mass of elementary pupils in Brgy. Lipit-Tomeeng Elementary School. I was with the parish catechists. The school prepared some merienda. But the catechists did not touch the pansit but partook a little of the puto.

At 1,30PM, we went to Brgy. Tokok Elementary School. Still, the merienda was partially partaken. The catechists were really fasting!

By evening, supper time, I felt so light. But very suprisingly, food was far from my mind! I celebrated masses for the children in the schools and for the people in the parish. The "food" that I had partaken was enough for me. It was the Body and the Blood of Jesus, my Lord and my God.

Somehow, I realised that in fasting, the self is emptied physically so that I may hunger for the Holy Bread and Wine partaken in the Eucharist.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Only God...

"Everything is possible for him who believes."
Mk 9, 23

The boy that was brought to the disciples of Jesus that they might cure him was probably a sight to behold. He was foaming at the mouth; he was gnashing his teeth and would become stiff and rigid! The disciples probably panicked when they saw him. They must have doubted that they even have the power to cure the boy who was in a terrible condition.

The father complained to Jesus, " I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not." Jesus drove out the spirit and cured the child.

The disciples could not drive the evil spirit nor cure the child because they hesitated; they doubted. Would they have the power to drive the evil spirit out of the child? Would they have the power to cure the sick child?

The answer to both questions? They did not have the power to do so. For it is not their power that can drive the evil spirit nor cure the child, but through the power of Jesus! By themselves, they would have no power; for they are just but instruments of the power of God.

How many times we have faltered and hesitated when we were in seemingly impossible situation? We hesitated because we thought we could not overcome these difficulties. But the truth is: With Jesus by our side, everything is possible! It is his power that can drive out the evil among us; it is his power that can overcome the greatest difficulties we could face in our lives.
Jesus, I depend on you. Let me acknowledge your power over my life, and all the difficulties I am facing. I can not overcome them by myself, alone. But with you, everything is possible. Amen.

Friday, February 16, 2007

"Walang Hihingi! Walang Tatanggap!"

“I do not condemn you, but do not sin again” (Jn 8,11)

Jesus was confronted by a mob who wanted to stone a woman caught committing adultery. They were ready to give her the punishment due to her as provided by the law. Jesus looked at the crowd, and challenged each one of them to cast the first stone IF no one among them had committed any sin. When all had left, Jesus looked at the woman and told her: “I do not condemn you, but do not sin again.” The sin may have been committed, but there is hope for transformation and renewal.

The Bishops of the Philippines in 1997 said that the greatest bane in the development of the Philippines is politics as it is practiced in the Philippines. Politics had compromised our very life as a nation; our aspirations and dreams as a people!

We have been caught lying! We have been cheating! We have been buying votes and selling our right to choose rightly and responsibly! We have compromised our principles for money and power! We have been caught doing all these and we are now about to be condemned by our children, by those we are supposed to take care and nourish: by the generation coming after us!

But, we have heard the voice of the Lord for us: I do not condemn you, but sin no more!” It is not enough that we recognize how we have failed as a nation. We need to act! And act now!


In the exercise of our right to vote, let us not be swayed by the color of money. Elections are meant to select persons who we want to lend the power which rightly belongs to us. For power is from the people, by the people and for the people! When we elect people to certain offices, we are allowing them to borrow the power that belongs to us with the belief that they will responsibly use that power for the common good.

To lend is a far cry from selling! For when we lend something to somebody, that something rightly still belongs to us! When the borrower destroys it or does not take care of it, we can confront him and demand satisfaction for the destroyed property! But when we sell that property, how can we demand satisfaction when the property is lost or destroyed? We have sold it. It has already been bought. It does not belong to us anymore. A borrower is not a buyer nor a lender, a seller!


Let us give dignity to our vote! WALANG HIHINGI! means we can choose the right persons who have integrity and competence to lead us. It means we are freeing ourselves from persons who are incompetent and untrustworthy. WALANG TATANGGAP! frees us from the moneyed but corrupt individuals from leading us! It frees us from the burden of paying back a “debt of gratitude” which is in reality is nothing but a selling and buying of our right! In reality, we do not owe anyone, anything!

“I do not condemn you”, says our Lord. But truly, let us sin no more. Enough is enough!



Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A Bishop's Visit

The red parish jeep had a special passenger going to Barangay Bigbiga for the BEC Day. The Auxiliary Bishop of the Lingayen-Dagupan was sitting infront; I was at the back with two altar boys. The mass was at 3:00 PM.

We left the Rectory early, around 2:00 PM. Two old women called on me in the morning for a sick call. I told them we would be passing by their barangay before going to Bigbiga. They would only have to wait for us at a designated place so that we would not get lost.

We saw them infront of the Barangay Waiting shed waiting for us. The two of them clambered in the back of the jeep. Suddenly, I was squeezed in between two old women, the Mass Kit, the two altar boys and the MiPro portable public sound system. I had to make my body smaller, if that were possible, but I did, actually.

She was around ninety years. She had a hard time breathing.

I asked the Bishop, "Monsignor, would you like to adminster the sacrament for her?"

"Yes", the good Bishop answered.

The members of the family of the sick woman were so grateful to the Bishop after the celebration of the sacrament. Inspite of the anxiety they felt, there was a sense of relief and joy with the visit of the Bishop.

"Ag mi nalingwanan iya, Monsignor!", they gratefully told the Bishop, expressing how they would never forget his visit, and how the sacrament of the anointing of the sick was administered by a bishop to their mother.

For them, their prayers were already answered.