Wednesday, December 30, 2009

HOLY FAMILY


I was browsing the Internet for a good definition of FAMILY.
One said, "It is the basic unit of society."
Another: "A Group of People coming together by reason of consanguinity, friendship and a common goal, etc.."
Still another said, poetically: "It is where I Belong."
But the best definition I saw said: "FAMILY-is FAther, Mother, and all the children and parents saying to one another I LOVE YOU."

As we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family

We remember today our own family
we acknowledge how it is a special gift given to us, to have a family, to have love ones and friends near us and a family where we belong.
It is what made our Christmas celebration complete and meaningful, having our family around us. It completes our Life.
It is a precious gift, Let us love our family.
It is sad to hear how some would easily break their family for personal reasons and how they won't fight and defend their family and how they allow attack against the family.
Our Family is worth fighting for and worth keeping.

Sometimes we become too idealistic about our family. How we would like to have a perfect family, perfect dad, perfect mom, perfect kids, even in our parish family we also expect perfect parishioners and perfect priest or pastor.
But human and created as we are, we are never perfect, with our imperfections it is just too much to achieve a perfect one.
But one thing is clear though, as long as there is Love, understanding, acceptance and forgiveness, we can still have a Happy Family and a"perfect" Family.

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Create a family that is close to God, close to each other, and close to others or Neighbors..it is a secret to a Happy and Holy Family just like the family Of Jesus, Joseph and Mary.

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3 "O" needed to achieve a Holy Family
O bedience - Like Joseph and Mary
O ffering - Like the Holy Family going to the temple for the Presentation.
O remus - Like Joseph, Mary and Jesus Praying to the Heavenly Father

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Family is very important
It is where we are formed. It is where the kids stay most of the time and learn a lot.
Not even the school, the media or church could equal what the kids learn at home from their parents.
It is where we have received our faith.
We are here now in church because in the past a love one or a member of the family taught us about the value of prayer and church and faith.
And I wonder what will the future look like for kids now who are never formed at home with their faith because some parents believe they respect what they want to believe and to practice in the future.

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We pronounce PARENT like "Pay Rent"
Maybe because that's really what parents are suppose to do, like a pay back for what they themselves received from their parents.
and so we give back by being examples and models to other.

Today we pray that PEACE, HAPPINESS, UNITY, and SUCCESS will reign in our FAMILIES, Amen.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

CHRISTMAS MOMENTS


Tonight we receive The Greatest Gift of all: JESUS CHRIST Our Savior.
A Gift offered to us by the Heavenly Father flowing out of His abundant Generosity and Kindness.
A Gift we don't even deserve because of our unworthiness.
A Gift that is totally unexpected, just like what Santa Claus could give us.

Notice how in life we often receive unexpected gifts and gifts that we don't even deserve.
Notice how often we are blessed unexpectedly by God even if we didn't ask for it.
And we realize that Christmas is always happening the whole year through in our lives not only this Christmas or this season but every moment of our lives.
There are always Christmas Moments.

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JOY

December 17, I celebrated my Birthday.
A very special, one of a kind Birthday and memorable for me.
I had picture taking with Santa Claus.
I received Gifts and special Birthday song from parishioners after the mass.
The School Cheerleaders gave me a surprise Birthday Cheer in front of many watching basketball that day.
Then Friends gave me a party in the evening.
But what really made my day complete was when after the party towards midnight I was going home and I received a sick call.
I went to give a dieing person absolution and the last rite.
As I celebrated my Birthday I was praying for a person who was completing his life here on earth and was about to go.
After the family Thank me and I went home
In the middle of the night, at the end of the day
I felt the greatest feeling of Happiness and Contentment that really made my day complete.
I said This really is my special day.


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What should we do this Christmas?

In the Sunday readings, John was asked by the people "What should we do?"
The context of the question was the uncertainty and confusion of the people in the time of John and Jesus.
The question was asked because they wanted to know more about following Jesus
and the question also had something to do with asking what should we do this advent season?
I was asked the same question by the family and the wife of a person by the name Joseph who just died and I was there comforting the family and blessed the remains. Joseph left his wife with two very young children.
They asked me that same question on that third Sunday of advent: what should we do, father?
I was so speechless and very sad that I didn't know what right words to say in those difficult times.
I asked my self what do you say to families about Christmas in times like this. In times of death, suffering and loneliness and poverty.


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A Friend came to me and asked:
Father what shall I do?
These days I feel I am lost
I don't feel well
I am unhappy and I feel nothing right is going on in my life.
I don't know what to do and I dread and worry thinking of how long will this "desert experience" last.

I said:
I guess this is really what Christmas is telling us.
Christ coming to us as a Child and now He lies on the crib looking so helpless and powerless and looking with an uncertain future.
"God becoming Man" I guess must be "like being lost"
But take courage and journey with Jesus, I said.
With Him there is a promise of Hope and better tomorrow.


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CHRIST MAS

Some I observed would really like to take Christ away from Christmas.
A friend, working at a call center, told me that they were asked not to greet Merry Christmas to clients but just say: Happy Holidays.
I heard at the Philippine airport, workers were asked not to greet passengers and balikbayans with a Merry Christmas, saying that it connotes asking for gifts.
Others would just prefer to greet Seasons Greetings.
But I still believe that the Best way to greet others is to say MERRY CHRISTMAS


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After the midnight mass
I saw the people who came to church went home and I heard many would be with their love ones and together they will celebrate Christmas.
I went home and ALONE I prepared myself a peanut butter sandwich with a diet coke.
As I ate alone I thought of the families celebrating.
I felt at peace also when I thought that I was being one with those who were alone and have nothing for Christmas and I know there were many.
I was one with those who did not have their families and love ones
And it was made more meaningful when I thought that I guess this was really How the First Christmas was, so simple, so peaceful but very contented.
I went to bed that night with the JOY of Christmas in my heart

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Advent Boy


Today I express my sincerest Joy.
For The Almighty has done great things for me.
He has given me my Family who formed me and prepared me to succeed in this world.
He has given my my Friends and Love ones who are always there to protect me and keep me away from harm and helping me live life meaningfully.
He has given me the chance to be His instrument to bring others closer to Him and to proclaim His message of Love and Peace.
He has given me the Faithful around me whom I serve in my own little way making my mission complete.
He has blessed me with Good Health and contentment.
Above all He has given me my precious Life, and at the age of 42 I am still going.
For all these I say Thank You to the Almighty Father
I am filled with Joy and this Advent Season,
I am Truly an Advent Boy.

Monday, December 14, 2009

JOY


The Third Sunday of advent is called Gaudete Sunday.
It is called "Rejoicing Sunday" or Joyful Sunday and notice we lighted the pink candle today.
I feel great today because for ones "I am allowed to wear PINK."

JOY is the theme of our celebration.

We hear today from the readings that joy comes in many forms.

In the book of Zephaniah, Joy comes because of the absence of fear and worries and of enemies and it is something celebrated with festivities.
Be Happy This Christmas and celebrate.
Don't allow the gloom and dark clouds in life overwhelm us.
Celebrate even simply and celebrate with prayer, with the Eucharist.

Paul, in the second reading speaks of joy as something in our own being, in our hearts.
He use words like honor, trust and graciousness.
It is something we achieve when we are at peace. That's the reason why we ask for forgiveness for our failures and we also forgive those who have wronged us.

Then in Gospel, John was asked what should we do? And Joy takes a new form..he said "whoever has two cloaks and food share it to those who are in need..joy now is achieved when we give, when we help others.
joy is achieved when we share.

Someone observed that, for joy to be completely achieved when you share follow the right order.
the order is J O Y, Jesus, Others and You..for joy to be complete we must have time , and be able to share to Jesus, others and oneself. In the right order and making an effort to consider all: Jesus, others and oneself.

Let us pray for true joy in our hearts and lives and in the Family and the world this Christmas and all the days of our lives. Amen.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION


As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception,

As we honor today our Blessed Virgin Mary this Advent Season, when we prepare for the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Three Special Gifts are promised to you and me.

1. The Gift of Purity of Heart and Forgiveness.

We may not be conceived without sin and Immaculate but The Blessed Virgin is given to us as our model reminding us that we too can strive to attain purity of heart and soul and that we can be forgiven by God.
We ask for forgiveness and go to confession , we use the words "I'm sorry", and we also use the words "I forgive" to those who have wronged us.

2. The gift of Joy and Peace.

Happiness and Peace in our hearts, in the family and in our community.
When Elizabeth heard the voice of Mary..the baby leaped with joy in her womb
and Elizabeth declared with joy "Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with you..."
Yes, even if life is difficult and our times hard, we can still be at peace and experience true joy and contentment if we are at peace with God and with others.

3.The Gift of Hope.

" For nothing is impossible with God."
I know each one of us would like to receive a special gift..pray and believe that Jesus will give you and me that gift we need.

May our Blessed Virgin Mary today help us attain purity of heart and soul, true joy and Peace in our hearts and in the family and Hope for a better Life.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

ADVENT REFLECTION


ADVENT

A - Awaiting for the Coming of Jesus Christ: His Birthday, His
coming to us through Grace and when He comes back in Glory.
(Wait for Jesus.. Not for Santa Claus or for gifts or for Bonuses..)

D - Do Good. It is a Time to Give, to Share, to Help others. When
we do good we make ourselves pleasing to God.

V - Vigilant. Stay awake and watch for we know not when He is
coming. Watch and See Oneself, what others Need and What God wants you to do.

E - EUCHARIST. The Holy Mass should be important in all our
schedules these season. It is a Time to Pray. A time to be Spiritual.

N - NO to Sin and vices and bad habits. Say Sorry and use the word
I Forgive you often.

T - THANKSGIVING. Say Thank you to Jesus for your Life and the many
Blessings and Love He showered upon you and your Family.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT


Today is the first Sunday of advent
Advent-comes from the word "adventus", "ad venire" - the coming, to come.
And we ask today who is coming?
I asked a group of children, who is coming at Christmas time?, whom are we waiting for?- and they all answered Santa Claus.
It is our Lord and Savior JESUS CHRIST who is coming.
You may wonder why in the gospel today we have a different picture presented.
It is not about the a child being born in a manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes and who is with Mary and Joseph. But rather about the end, when the savior is coming accompanied by signs and surprises.
It is is because, we have the "Three Comings of Jesus Christ."
1. When He was born in Bethlehem. His coming in time.In the history, in the past, when He became man.
2. Another coming Is the here and now when we receive Christ in our hearts, through grace, when we listen to His words and we allow Him to touch us and make us better persons
3. His coming in glory, at the end of time at the end of life when we will finally meet Him again face to face.
So the celebration of advent is really something bigger than we we ordinarily think about.
And the church celebrates in advent the three comings of Christ.

The Gospel my dear brothers and sisters
is a call to prepare and to to prepare rightly.
that we need to have the right mind the right idea of what advent is..
that it is the coming of Jesus.
Lets never forget that the decorations and music and celebrations are all secondary..Christ should be the center.
we also need to have the right attitude, the right disposition
that it should be of joy and the sharing of joy, of Love to others.

We should have the right attitude of watchfulness and anticipation,
and it is a grace to have the attitude of watchfulness and readiness.
1. to see the true meaning of things we see around.
2. to see that aside from ourselves our needs even our families there are others who need our love and help.
3. to see the moments and occasions of grace that Christ knocks at our hearts.
4. to see that life is not forever that we should all set ourselves and prepare to meet Christ one day.
Let us ask and pray for these grace as we start the season of advent today
to have right mind, right attitude and disposition and grace of being watchful for the coming of Christ, amen.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

THANKSGIVING


The past months, St. Gertrudes in Bayville New York has been my home away from home.
This time I journeyed together with the new pastor Fr. Stephen Brigandi
going through with him in all his new experiences and realizations in a new mission.

There were tough times and overwhelming situations
But also there were the moments of joy and success
and they all helped made our task as priests meaningful.

Even if I already had my own experiences in the past as a young pastor back home in zamboanga. I would say that there where many new instances of enlightenment that I have experienced with fr. stephen and I also have learned a lot.
The Faithful, my families and friends in st. gertrudes have never change
They were loving and caring as ever
and when I left after summer I shared to them
How I was so greatful for the Love and generosity I saw in st gertrudes and I said to show my gratitude, I will always try to give my best wherever I go to continue serving and loving others and helping them experience Christ also
The Love I received is the same Love I will give.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY

Wednesday, August 19, 2009




In the Gospels these past Sundays we have heard about Jesus being presented to us as The Bread of Life.
There is one very important message that we should never fail to reflect, which is: THE HOLY EUCHARIST. The Holy Mass.
Its Meaning, its Importance and the need for us to grow in our Love and devotion for the Eucharist.

Its meaning.
Pope Benedict XVI said: The celebration and worship of the Eucharist enable us to draw near to God’s love and to persevere in that love" “Sacramentum Caritatis” (“The Sacrament of Charity”).
It is our source of strength to love, our source of grace to live meaningful lives as his followers. It is our Life , the Truth and our way to eternal salvation.
For me, in the Eucharist everything in my life as a priest, in my achievements and successes and in my my struggles, everything find its meaning. and I know if ever the day will come when I will be away from it, then it will be my end.

Its Importance.
I remember when we were kids whenever my mom would invite us to prepare to go to mass, there were times when we just wanted to stay at home and would even say that we will just attend mass through the television or just pray the rosary in the evening. And she would tell us: "Not even a hundred praying of the rosary could equal one attendance of the mass". We got the message and we all went to mass.
St. Theresa of Calcutta said: if the Eucharist is taken for granted, something breaks up in life.

Our Love and Devotion
I believe it is something that we have learned from others, maybe from a neighbor or a relative or from our parents.
we love the Eucharist because someone in life were our models and gave us good examples and taught us about the Eucharist
I know, I am a priest now because my mom , my parents taught me about Love for the Eucharist.
And i believe, that if ever we want that the next generation, the kids will learn to love the Eucharist then we should be the models, we the grownups, the parents should give them good example.

As we receive Christ today, may we be renewed and become better persons, growing in our love for one another and Christ.
May we grow in our appreciation and love for the Eucharist. As the source and summit of our christian Life, Amen

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Assumption


On the feast of the Assumption
We recognize that the Blessed Virgin Mary is in heaven
We celebrate the fact that Mary was assumed body and soul to heaven
It is a doctrine in the church that was defined by Pope Pius XII in 1950

Pope Benedict in his message, said: “today is a day of joy, for God has won, Love has won and that God is powerful, powerful even death.”
He makes the impossible happen
A reminder for you and me that in life there are things that we think they really are impossible but God is powerful and can make them happen.
For all our prayers today, Believe that God can make them happen.

We are reminded also today that we have now a Mother in heaven
A Mother who is our model and help
That one day we too can be with her

Finally the Assumption reminds us that the Blessed Mary brings hope and joy
Elizabeth experienced it when she was visited by Mary
Times are tough for many nowadays
Many are burdened and overwhelmed with many things happening around us.
struggling financially
personal crosses, problems in life and in the family
It’s a hard life
But the message of the assumption is Hope and Joy with the help of the Blessed Virgin
That there will be better times for us
Four you and me
For your family
for our parish
For the country and for the world
There will be better times

We honor today the blessed virgin
We ask for her intercession in all our prayers and we ask for the grace to grow in our love and devotion for our Mother Mary. Amen

Monday, July 20, 2009

Still on a Journey



I am reminded of the universal thumb rule In driving which says:
“Keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the steering wheel and stop when you are sleepy and exhausted.”

As we travel in Life with the things we do
It matters when we know where we are heading and what we would like to achieve and reach.
Our goals and vision matters.

There will always be distractions, be it successes or disappointments.
Joys or sorrows, but it will help a lot if “our hands are on the steering wheel” don’t let anything or anyone distract us.

And when it becomes unbearable and tiresome, learn to stop and rest,
to be re energized and then to continue the journey.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

On a Journey


Jesus sent his apostles on a journey, two by two
To proclaim his good news and He instructed them on how to conduct themselves and how to carry out the mission.

I have been traveling again these past days
Traveling alone
and I certainly see the wisdom of Jesus sending his apostles on a journey two by two
Jesus knew the journey could be fun and easy when one share it with a company.

But I am not really alone, on the road I have met special persons who with their generous heart have made my journey meaningful and joyful. They are many and I pray that the Lord will bless them abundantly for their goodness

Travel Light.
Literally, I am doing it. I have learned that one need to bring only the essentials and the rest the Lord will provide. And Yes this has been proven many times. The Lord takes care.

Proclaim the message of peace, hope and Love is what I strive to bring in the name of Jesus
In simplicity and humility it is done and with sincerity I believe the journey can be successful and the mission can be accomplish
I continue my journey and I wish myself a wonderful trip
Buona Giornata.!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Thank You

To Fr. Peter Puntal, to Mom Aida, to Laurie, To Jane and to all St. Joseph Office Staff, to Fr. fracilus, friends from the filipino community, to the Parishioners of St. Joseph..To my Friends, for your love and care and generosity. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.
video

Friday, May 29, 2009

My Anniversary


Sixteen years ago today I was ordained a priest by the late Archbishop Francisco R. Cruces at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Zamboanga.

I take the opportunity today to REMEMBER.

To remember our Good Lord who gave me my vocation as a precious gift. How He has loved me and protected me and guided me and sustained me to remain a priest.

And I remember today to say from the bottom of my heart Thank You, Jesus.

I remember today my parents and my family for their love and support.

I remember my father who told me on his deathbed. “Whatever you have started finish it and bring it to fruition.” His words kept me going and were my strength in my life.

I remember my mother who prays for me and my intentions everyday, never failing to mention my name in her prayers. The reason why I am still a Priest.

I remember my friends and those close to me who helped make my life and my vocation more meaningful because of their care and help.

I remember the faithful, the flock, that the Lord gave me to tend and the fulfillment it gives to serve them.

And I remember that this precious gift of Priesthood is for me to keep till the end of my life.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Guided by the HOLY SPIRIT


On a Friday afternoon I made my rounds of visiting patients in Winter Haven Hospital, FL. for anointing and communion.
I had 4 patients on my list.
At one time I entered a room where I saw a man lying on the bed and beside him was I believed his son and wife.
They were all surprised to see me and I was surprised also because I realized I just entered a room not on my list and they even never requested for a priest.
I apologized for the mistake and then went on to the right rooms.
As I was about to leave a nurse called me and requested if I could visit one more patient.
I went back and found out that It was the room that I mistakenly entered.
I prayed for the patient, led him to a confession and anointed him and bless the family also.
And I left.
The next day I was told that the patient I anointed died and the family were glad that I was able to pray for him before he passed away.
The family became my friends and they requested me also to do the funeral and blessing of ashes.
Until now I still wonder why I entered that room.
What brought me to the door of that room when in fact I had the correct room numbers on my list.
Amazing how The HOLY SPIRIT works.
Amazing how the Lord create wonders

Monday, May 4, 2009

Undying Love


The Image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd
“Who knows and lays down His Life for His Sheep”
Reminds us of how He truly Loves us and Cares for us.
This Love is always. A Lasting Love, that is, Till the End.

As His followers we too are invited and challenge to have the same undying Love and care for one another and for the Lord.

Is this still possible?
I believe YES. It is very much possible.

During the mass yesterday I was asked to Bless Fran and Doris Nolin who were celebrating their 57th wedding anniversary.
Now that's an example and clear proof how Love can be till the end.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Obeying The Lord


To Obey God Is to Follow His Will and Commandments which is LOVE.
To Obey God is therefore to LOVE.
(Peter and the Apostles said: “"We must obey God rather than men.”)

I see the Love among the faithful who comes to church every morning offering their time for the Lord and serving the community.
The same Love I see as kids from St. Joseph carry their contributions of food stuff for charity.
The Love of a wife caring for her sick husband.
The Love of a wife who stands at the side of her husband in pain at the hospital as I give the Last rite.
The Love of a mother taking care of her baby.
The Love of a mom who takes care of me at home as part of the family.

I see this Love wherever I go
And this is how they Obey God and follow His Will.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

HAPPY EASTER


On Easter Morning,
I said the 6:30 early morning Mass.
It must have been due to lack of sleep but absentmindedly, after the choir sang the Gloria..I led again the congregation to recite the Gloria.
Halfway, I realized we did the GLORIA Twice and the people even obediently prayed it with life.
I apologized to the community during the homily..but then I realized that it was fitting. why? Because it was The Glorious Celebration of all. It was EASTER SUNDAY.

May The JOY and PEACE that EASTER brings be felt by all in their hearts, in their lives, and in their families.
and May the words of Jesus who said "Do not be Afraid" be our strength and Hope in times of trouble, AMEN.
HAPPY EASTER

Thursday, April 9, 2009

FLORIDA Chrism Mass 2009

I am in Winter Haven, Florida in the Parish of St. Joseph. Yesterday, Holy Wednesday Was the Chrism Mass of the Diocese of Florida Clergy held at their famous The Queen of the Universe Shrine. I was fortunate to be invited and was blessed with the opportunity to renew my Priestly vows. My pastor Fr. Peter Puntal also introduced me to the Bishop Thomas Wenski and I was blessed to receive a personal greeting of welcome from him. A memorable moment was my first meeting with the 12 Filipino priests incardinated in the diocese of Florida who saw to it that I was taken cared of and how we enjoyed sharing stories from back home. An inspiring experience also was to meet the Filipino community with warm welcome and with loving excitement inviting me to join them in their gatherings. This is just the start in my stay in Florida and I am really excited
video
This is a site of "Leaps of Faith" experiences and reflections. Be it Philosophical, Theological, Practical or Personal. It is also a site of Biblical reflections. But Above all, This is a site for YOU and ME.

"Leaps of Faith"

"LEAPS OF FAITH" Can be a religious movement of a person, an inner movement of belief, of trust on the greatest power of all, The Supreme being..Our Creator and Maker..Our God. They can be resolutions of a person everyday in his life to move forward, to be a better person, and to start a new life. They can be decisions of a person in times of great uncertainties, when he is not sure of what will come or happen and he makes a leap of faith. They can be steps, difficult steps that a person makes on his way to change or to start anew. Or they can simply be a persons resolve to fly, to travel..to widen his horizons, to learn more about life and to grow. These are Leaps of faith we make everyday and in great moments of our lives and they are worth considering and reflecting.