The joy of conforming to the will of God

“Why is loving God a source of contentment and happiness?” Last week, I examined the writings of St. Alphonsus Ligouri on the importance of the virtue of living in conformity with the will of God. To the holy man, living according to one’s will and not of God’s is the same as idolatry, since in …

Praising God for our Suffering

“To those who love God, all things work unto good.” This is the last of my series of columns on the will of God, my attempt to try to make sense of the sickness and death around us. I wrote these reflections during a difficult time for my hometown, Cagayan de Oro, Davao City, and …

The Will of God

“Faith gives us all the courage to embrace our grief and continue to love.” In times of extreme adversity and calamity, such as during this pandemic, many of us are asking these questions: Why do bad things happen to good people? If God is loving and compassionate, then why would that all powerful Being allow …

Lessons from Cyprian of Carthage

“Just as I finish writing an obituary for a friend, news of another death arrives.” Last week, seven people I knew died, mostly of coronavirus. Three of them were personally close to me—a priest in Cotabato, an uncle in Cagayan de Oro, and a colleague from the University of the Philippines. In my running toll of …

The Great Commission for the pandemic

“Now is not the time to be selfish, to be cruel and to retreat inside our cocoons of comfort.” The reading for this Sunday – Ascension Sunday – is the presentation of what is known as the Great Commission of the Faith. In the Gospel narrative, Jesus commands his disciples to “Go, therefore, and make …

Catechesis on Community Pantries

“What we are seeing in action is this political love.” The gospel on the Sixth Sunday of Easter is familiar. Jesus, speaking to his disciples, issues a clear command:  “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.  If you keep my commands, you will remain in my …

Patreng and Other Good Sheperds

“Let them multiply and let the forces of evil be vanquished.” The Gospel on this Fourth Sunday of Easter uses the metaphor of Christ as the Good Shepherd. In the Old Testament and during the time of Christ, sheep were plentiful, Israel being a pastoral society. Understandably, both the Old and the New Testaments make …

New Places in Our Hearts

In the Gospel narrative of St. Luke on the Third Sunday of Easter, the disciples who had just encountered Jesus on the road to Emmaus and recognized him in the breaking of bread are in the midst of sharing their experience when Jesus appears to them. He who has truly risen from the dead mysteriously …

Crisis of Faith During a Pandemic

“How can a merciful and loving God exist when there is so much evil and suffering around?” Most of us are familiar with the story of the apostle Thomas also called Didymus who doubted the accounts of the other disciples about their encounter with the Risen Lord. The story, which is the Gospel tomorrow, the …

Good Friday and Easter Sunday

“We need a God that gives us hope even in times of defeat.” One can only wonder if there is reason for us to celebrate Easter in a world that is more like a Good Friday. Gripped with fear and uncertainties, we ask what lesson this blessed feast could have in these tragic days. Apparently, …