Mang Caranto

I don't know why all of a sudden I thought of Mang Caranto. His face was very vivid to me, his frail frame bent as he pushed his cart made of old discarded pieces of wood with wheels made also of wood held together with strips from old rubber tires nailed around them. Mang Caranto was a familiar figure around our neighborhood in Marikina Heights in the 1990s. He collected empty bottles and soda cans and pieces of metal to sell at a junk shop. He also collected old newspapers, which younger junk collectors pay for, but the households just gave them to him for free, knowing that he could sell them to the junk shop, as a way of helping him and his family. We met Mang Caranto at a low poi

Life Is Short, So We Must Love

This afternoon, I had the opportunity to lead the wake service in Laurel, Maryland for the wife of a next door neighbor in our native hometown and my brother Ed's best friend Arthur. We all migrated to this country many decades ago. Arthur's wife, Nenita, passed away all too unexpectedly. No one in her family had an inkling that she had leukemia to which she succumbed so suddenly. She was still in the prime of her life, and enjoying it with family and friends. The gospel reading at the wake service from Luke talks about "girding one's loins" and being prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come." (Luke 12:35-40) Today also, I watched the last episode of a Filipino so

"Loving Jesus" - A Good Friday Homily

Today, Good Friday, we are again invited to enter into the profound mystery of what happened at Calvary two thousand years ago. The Passion of Christ is a story that has been told and retold through the centuries since then. It is the greatest story that has ever been told. Many lives have been shaped and made fruitful by this story, by the Man who is the central figure of this story, the man called Jesus, who is also the Son of God. We often hear and even repeat the usual phrases about Our Lord’s death – like, “He died for our sake,” “He saved us from sin,” “He died for our redemption.” These are all expressions of a profound truth. However, not everybody has heard this truth, nor has eve

“Amen I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise” Lk 23:43 - 2nd Last Word of Jesus on the

The gospel account of the thief who was crucified together with Jesus amazes us because here is a person who spent his life committing crimes against the 7th Commandment – “Thou Shalt not Steal” became the first canonized saint in the history of Christianity. He was canonized by Jesus Himself, the Incarnate Son of God, the Creator and King of the Universe. From a life of thievery, banditry, of stealing things owned and worked for by other people, he in effect stole a much more valuable good: heaven itself, at his dying moment. The first word uttered by our Lord while He was hanging on the cross, is a word of forgiveness for those who committed offenses against Him, those who condemned Him t

From "Hosanna!" to "Crucify Him!" or Making Jesus our Choice

Our 40 day Lenten journey has ended and today we are starting Holy Week with Palm Sunday, called such because of the palms and other branches waived by a big crowd of His followers as He entered the holy city with acclamations of “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” It is also called Passion Sunday because we read and listen to the whole Gospel account of the Passion and death of our Lord. Holy Week, especially the Triduum, the three days of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil are the high points of the great mystery of our redemption. Holy Week presents to us opportunities to recall and meditate on the events of those three days. In today's Gospel, we obs