Tuesday, November 30, 2010


"Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day you Lord will come." In the readings this past Sunday on the First Sunday of Advent, we are reminded to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. We must stay awake and be prepared everyday. Noah built the ark on God's instruction. He listened to the word and acted on it. It definitely required much faith. Probably those around him thought he was crazy. How many of us fall victim to the secular celebration of Christmas? I myself get caught in all the "Christmas in the air" feeling and forget the meaning of this advent season. Many times before I have failed to listen to God's voice. As the Gospel reading has reminded us, we must be like Noah- prepared. We must rise and stand in faith especially in these times. For a priest, he must walk in faith always and listen to God's instruction.

During the homily this past sunday, the priest celebrant told of a faith experience he had encountered a few weeks ago. He was on his way to celebrate mass at the mission church on a saturday. This church was in a rural area with poor cell phone reception. Right before celebrating mass, he received a phone call. It was his sister calling to say that their mother is being rushed to the emergency room. After she said that, the phone dropped the call leaving Father stupefied. He was worried because he couldn't call back. Many emotions went through this mind. He had two choices. First, he could just leave behind his flock or walk by faith and trust in God. After composing himself, he chose to walk by faith. He listened to the instruction of God, "go and offer mass for my people." The next day, he received a call from his sister saying that their mother is being moved out of the ICU. Talk about walking by faith. What is so moving was that Father was able to talk to his mother on the phone. When he asked whether or not she knew who she was talking to, she said, "This is my son." The was the first time in a long time that she knew who he was.

To prepare ourselves this advent season, St. Paul reminds us to "throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light." The bottom line is: Do not do things of darkness because we are children of the light. God spoke through the prophets but all was fulfilled by Jesus. NOW is the time to leave behind any darkness. Let us be in joyful anticipation!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Commemoration of All Souls

"For those who believe, life has not ended but changed."

Yesterday was the commemoration of All Souls, an important day for the monks of Mount Angel Abbey. The fog rolled in and covered the hill most of the morning. After the mass, everyone processed to the cemetery with the monks taking the lead. With hoods covering their heads, the monks processed through the fog. Once we got there, Father Odo with holy water blessed the graves of this brothers. Following that, he incensed the cemetery by weaving through the rows of simple cross grave markers.

We all left the cemetery in silence. This day was a day of recollection for the whole seminary. We had conferences lead by Abbot Gregory Duer, OSB.

Most of my day was reflecting on burying my mom nearly a year ago and my father almost four years. I truly missed their presence and the ability to have a conversation with them. My father a hard working person trying to make ends meet found his rest in drinking. I regret not spending time with him having some Ahi Poke (raw fish snack eaten while hanging out) or learn about this trade of making Hawaiian jewelry. His life well lived, was too short. My mom battled breast cancers for almost two years before going home to the Lord. I wish I spend more time with her listening to her stories of the past and learning to cook those delicious Filipino dishes that I so miss. She lived a life self-sacrificing from coming to America at the age of 21 to give a better life for her siblings (4 sisters, 2 brothers) to working several jobs to make ends meet when she started her own family.

To both of my parents, thank you for teaching me to love no matter what. For teaching me the importance of "blood is thicker than water" and the value of family. For teaching me to sacrifice my self for others. For teaching me to study hard and strive for the best. Thank for these and so much more.

Lord, I praise you and I thank you for giving me the parents that I had. You taught us to empty ourselves by giving up your son. Give me the grace to persevere to become a holy priest as you have called me to. I know how much you are asking me to give up and I accept. Let your presence be ever known to me in the times of trial and tribulation. Help me to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's promptings. Bless those who have had an impact in my life. I ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.