Finding God in the Eggplant, the Tomato and the Corn . . .

Yesterday coming home, I found a box by my door. It contained a big round eggplant, four ears of corn, and a dozen tomatoes. They were fresh and newly harvested. Even without a name from whom they came I knew they could only have been given by John, who cuts my grass every other week. John and I used to talk about plants for I also grew eggplants and tomatoes and corn. Like him, I also did vegetable gardening and enjoyed it immensely. Last season I had a bountiful harvest of eggplants, tomatoes and bitter melons. But if I were to buy my produce from a grocery store, I would pay much less than the cost of the water, the seedlings, the garden soil and fertilizer, not including the time I ha

"Kilometerstones"

In the country of my youth, distance is measured in kilometers, not miles. Between my hometown and Manila, the capital, are 100 concrete mini-monuments by the roadside, marking the number of kilometers you are away from the capital, more exactly the Luneta, where the kilometer stone "0" is located fronting the monument of our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. Commuting from the capital to my hometown, I knew that we were halfway when we reached Baliwag (km 50), close to home when we reached San Ildefonso (km 75), and almost home when we reached Gapan (km 95). We were home at km 100, right where the national highway intersected our street. Our home was 2 houses away from that intersection. The b

Looking Close . . . Looking Far

Gustave Doré's illustration to Dante's Divine Comedy Two events occurred one after the other in our parish this week: funeral Masses for two long-time parishioners, Ester and Lita, the first on Thursday and the other on Friday, and the wake services for them held at the funeral home the day before. The reality of one's inevitable leaving this earthly life strikes at one's consciousness again at these times, and what happens after this departure is taken up in the "words of remembrance" by family and friends who recall fond memories of the life of the loved one who has left and declare that "the loved one is now in a better place" or "is with God now." There was a third event this week: the

The Tale of a Man Who Called God Stupid

Once upon a time in an island far away, there was a leader. He was known to be a strict leader. The people in the group of islands gave him the power to rule over them, hoping he would improve their lives. The first thing he did was to try to get rid of drug pushers and drug addicts . He gave his policemen and generals authority to kill them even without trial. Thousands of suspected pushers and addicts were killed. Most were poor. Their families grieved. But they could not do anything. For they were powerless. The priests and bishops told the man it was wrong for him to do that. He got angry with them and called them names. He even threatened to destroy their Church. Most of his officers a

A Silver Dollar

For the last time I came to my work area I had occupied the past many years to clear my desk and to gather my personal stuff to take home. Sister Charles, still recovering from a foot surgery, came by holding on to her walker from the adjacent Sisters' House. She had always talked to me every time she passed by my desk on her way to and from her Math classes, and now she knew what I was doing. As usual, she asked how I and my family were doing and I did the same. She pointed to my computer keyboard and said she had a note for me. I picked it up and when I opened it, something fell on the floor with a clinking sound. The note read: "Andy, The silver dollar is one of 25 my mother gave me when

"How long, O Lord . . . How long . . . ?"

When we first came to America decades ago, it was very different from the America that it turned out to be only a short time later. At that time there were no school and night club and newspaper offices shootings, no street protests that turned violent and ended in the destruction of private property. People then were more civil. Never did I experience a horn being blown from a car behind me for failing to go two seconds after the traffic lights turned green. Then, Catholic schools were truly Catholic and public schools respected parents rights over their children. Then, politics did not divide the nation as it bitterly does now. Political discourses are now characterized with harshness and