Every now and then, I would see in our chat group posts that are of questionable source and questionable truth.
When this happens, I usually search the Internet to check on the validity of the post. Most often, or even as always, the questionable post is indeed fake!
As a reply to a fake news, I had once posted an article that verified the fake news, and the poster remarked in arrogance.
I tried to correct the misconception on item in the fake news, and I got a negative remark.
The Bible is very clear in John 8:32 “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”.
In this age of social media, we should be cautious in posting or re-posting items of questionable source or doubtful integrity. As Christians, we should uphold the truth, and stop the spread of lies and fake news.
Reflection: Did you help in the spread of lies by re-posting fake news?
Prayer: Father, grant me the grace to be discerning before posting or re-posting items of questionable integrity. Amen.
The Invite “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” (Ephesians 4:11-12)
“May we invite you and your wife to serve?” This was our parish priest’s invitation when he visited our home one evening. He was asking us to head a big ministry – a commission – which aims to bring families to the Church. I said, “We will pray about it and will review the goals and background of the ministry.”
After almost a month, we said yes to the invitation. Since then, we had reorganized the commission, dividing it into six ministries. Alternating with our usual monthly meetings, I spoke the Word of God to leaders of various ministries under our team. Everyone shared their respective personal reflections. The ministry team was indeed equipped to serve.
The team organized big events for the parish: the search for a model family, programs for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and Mass weddings. Our parish community was so happy and thankful to the Lord for these events. Certainly, the Body of Christ in our parish was built up!
I will forever be grateful to God for allowing us to be a channel of His love in building our community. Truly, when the Lord calls, He equips!
Reflection: Do you sense the Lord is calling you to serve?
Prayer: When I hesitate to respond to Your call, empower me with Your Spirit to serve Your people. Amen. [This reflection was published in Didache Sept 21, 2019 both in hardcopy and in online formats]
“Those who fear the Lord honor their father, and serve their parents as masters. In word and deed honor your father, that all blessings may come to you.” (Sirach 3:7-8)
It was a 2-week absence for my wife.
After a family travel overseas, she stayed for a couple of weeks with our daughter who is working abroad.
Back in Manila, it was only me and my son at home. We haven’t really been “alone” this long.
I was not at the peak of my strength: both my hands are in pain due to trigger finger. I can’t do the usual chores I do at home. My son would assist me even a simple task of opening a bottled water.
A few days later, I had my left-hand trigger finger surgically released. At this point, the more I wasn’t able to perform much activity with my right hand only, which was also in pain.
At home, I had been almost always together with my wife. And I haven’t really seen both my children do ALL household activities.
But during these times, I am so touched that my son will prepare for me all that I will need for the day until he comes back from work: my breakfast, my lunch, my snacks, and others. He wouldn’t even allow me to menial tasks while my wound was still fresh.
He had shown to be a truly responsible son: taking care of his father, and ensuring that household chores are done. He would wake up early to prepare the food, and upon arrival from office, he would do the unfinished chores, staying late at night.
Thank you, son, you are indeed a blessing! May God’s abundant blessings be upon you.
The town of Mabini in Batangas has been one of my family’s most frequent travel destination. And for a lot of reasons: the entire Mabini peninsula is literally lined with choices of resorts — mostly diving resorts. This is because the municipality of Mabini is blessed with many good diving spots.
This weekend, my family booked at Planet Dive. A good place to be: clean air-conditioned rooms, restaurant overlooking the sea — not to mention its flowing coffee and tea, an infinity pool, a beachfront boardwalk, accommodating and smiling staff.
We were in this resort for a dive! I actually don’t dive; the most I can do is snorkeling near the beach. The sea is endowed with good diving sites. Not too far from the beach is a diving spot where professional divers go for a dive.
We came here with my entire household, including our 2 dogs! Ha-ha! Becoming part of the family huh. The resort is pet-friendly. We had seen big dog — a Golden Retriever — who loves to swim with his master. On the master’s signal he would swim even to the deep. Of course, he got a dog-vest strapped to his body. It appears that the dog enjoys the swim.
During our stay, there was a team of divers from a diving group/organization. I can observe that this place is indeed for diving. I felt kind-of out-of-place, but who cares! I am here to enjoy sea breeze and see my children enjoying their dive.
At dinner time, we decided to eat outside of the resort. We checked-in to this garden restaurant, the OMG Grill. It was a good almost 7km drive from the resort. And oh… it is full of people — mostly tourists like us — enjoying moments in this al-fresco type of garden resto. The food is good, not to mention that it is reasonably priced.
We returned to Planet Dive Resort quite late night. We arrived with our 2 dogs asleep. Hehe. We had a good night rest in the comfortable family room that we had.
The following morning, I woke up to the quietness of the sea and tamed wind. I love those moments that I can commune with nature. I had a good prayer time at the boardwalk beside the beach. Really awesome moments with the Lord!
Thank You, Lord, for this another weekend with the family!
“I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness.” (Colossians 1:25)
We were meeting in the Vicariate Commission on the Family when a parish leader asked me, “Can we invite you to give a talk in our Festival of Families?” I was pleasantly surprised with the opportunity to share the Word of God.
I prayed that the Lord would speak through me in my talk. I prepared a good deal: pondered on Bible verses on marriage and parenting, and read Amoris Laetitia by Pope Francis. I lifted up prayers for a Spirit-filled sharing of the Word of God.
On the appointed day, my wife and I drove to the parish. When we were ushered into the church, I was beaming with happiness deep inside of me because the attendance was excellent: a complete mix of fathers, mothers, and children. This is exactly the audience that my talk was focused on!
As I delivered the Word of God on marriage and parenting, the audience listened attentively, even reading with me the biblical verses flashed on screen. After the talk, the attendees were asked to reflect. I was glad to hear that the Word sank deep into their hearts. I praised the Lord for allowing me to present His Word in its fullness!
“Do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 13:11)
Dear Lord, continue to use me as Your mouthpiece of love. Amen.
[This reflection was first published in Didache — both hardcopy and online — on July 21, 2019]
“Whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” (1Cor 10:31)
It was one of the most poignant witnessing for the Lord: offering at the altar simple acts of service done in excellence.
The family was asked to be the Mass offerors for a coming Sunday. They were so happy to have been called to offer in the Mass, although they were very new in the parish.
They prepared a basket with various kinds of bread, arranged beautifully in a rattan-woven basket. In another native basket were fruits of different variety, carefully placed and garnished.
When they walked to the altar, the kids held the baskets in “offering” posture, walked in cadence with the parents who carried the usual chalice and wine. Truly excellence was present!
In another event, this family was called to change the altar cloth during Easter Vigil Mass.
Days before the Easter, they rehearsed changing a table cloth using their dining table. They made sure that they will perfectly place the cloth in 5 seconds flat. They tried several times until they made it really good.
In the morning of Saturday, while the mother made sure their best clothes to be worn are well-pressed, the father cleaned and shined their shoes. They left nothing unprepared for the service.
At the Easter Vigil Mass, the execution of the changing of altar cloth was so perfect.
Simple services. Done in excellence. Made for the glory of God!
Reflection: Are you giving your best to the Lord, even for simple tasks?
Prayer: Grant me O Lord the grace to do everything in the best way possible, all for your glory. Amen!
We love to discover places. My family had been to a number of beaches in Calatagan, Batangas but it seems we haven’t explored them all. This particular weekend, we were led to go to the tip of Calatagan peninsula – the Sunrise Cove.
We drove a bit of a distance. I initially thought it was near Calatagan town proper but it was not. I had to drive more distance and curves before we finally reached the beach.
The place was indeed beautiful for relaxation: a good view of the sea where Pagapas Bay and Isla Verde Passage meets, very refreshing sea breeze, comfortable cottages and beach benches. It was a perfect place for us family wanting to just have a good relaxing day. We thought we would be able to swim; unfortunately, it was a low tide – perhaps lowest for that period – so that we were not able to swim. My children wanted to have a free-dive in one of its spots to see the submarine gardens but they were not able to make it.
We had enjoyed the place, nevertheless. While my son tried to scour the almost flat seabed, trying to find creatures for his salt-water aquarium, our daughter walked our dog on the almost dry seabed. My wife and I just rested our backs on the cottage and had a nice very relaxing moment.
For our lunch, we decided to eat our prepared packed food at the raft tied a few meters away from the shore. It was supposed to be floating, but the low tide didn’t allow it to float. Haha! Just the same, we just loved the sea breeze and the company of each other as we ate our lunch together on a raft.
After we enjoyed our meal aboard a raft, we went back to the beach and had more relaxing moments. With the salty wind blowing on our faces, it was really good moments to rest and take a nap.
We drove back home by mid-afternoon. And the cool mountain air of Tagaytay City was irresistible not to stop a while and take a stroll in one of its new lake-facing malls – the Twinlakes. We spent some more moments here before we headed back home, finally.
We thank the LORD for another family bonding moments… a relaxing day at the beach, and an afternoon stroll in Tagaytay.