Author: Fr. Jojo

EVEN A DOLLAR WILL GO FAR

As you know, on Christmas Day, December 25, while you and I were celebrating the birth of our Savior, my hometown Virac in the island province of Catanduanes, Philippines, was hit by a powerful typhoon (hurricane), described by many as the strongest in decades. The devastation was massive. Thousands of residents were left homeless, their sources of livelihood are now gone and churches have been damaged, flooded and deprived of water and electricity. My parish is raising funds to help those most affected. All donations will be channeled through the parish. I would deeply  appreciate whatever help you can extend. No gift is too small or too big.  Even a $1 donation will make a huge difference in the lives of the many people who have lost most or all of their possessions. Please make checks payable to St. Christopher Church with the designation Calamity Fund as a year-end, tax-deductible, charitable gift. If you prefer to use either debit or credit card via online (electronic) giving, please click here. This site is safe and secure and has …

31ST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Earlier this year, St. Christopher kicked off the With All Your Heart Discipleship program to help grow deeper as a community of disciples grounding our faith in the four pillars of parish life: prayer, service, share and witness. The Heart to Share invites us to seriously consider and commit to share our financial resources to the community. This Sunday’s Gospel is the familiar story of Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector, known as the bad guy, disliked by many because of the nature of his job but apparently, he is just as spiritually curious and needy as many of us are. In fact, in a desperate attempt, he climbed a sycamore tree to take a chance, to get a glimpse of Jesus, reportedly passing down Jericho. That’s quite an effort in an obviously hostile environment. When Jesus took sight of him, he asked him to come down and said “for today, I must stay at your house.” Because of this encounter, his life dramatically changed and in return, he said, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, …

FOR ALL THE SAINTS…

Although today, we celebrate both the official, whose biographies are well-documented, famous lines quoted, and statues/images decorated on a pedestal and the unofficial (not even by loud acclamation) saints,  what strikes me most is the effervescent, passionate desire of the countless, anonymous, ordinary Christians to die for their faith as if their lives didn’t matter, persecuted down the centuries to this day whose names never made it to the books. If we dream of being counted in the communion of saints in the heavenly glory, simply give witness, just volunteer, just preach, just reach out, show much love and don’t get preoccupied with legacy, popularity, recognition, titles and the likes since these are  the exact things they avoid. PRAY FOR US!

28th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Autumn is a season of thanksgiving, a time of harvest after months of wait. If you’re in the greater Tucson/Marana area, you’d certainly love the weather as it starts to cool down from a nearly hellish temperature. Head to Sabino Canyon on your day off or perhaps, simply step outside in your backyard and appreciate Tucson’s beauty in an extravagant display of nature, lovely hues of falling leaves signaling a change of season. On the west side of Tangerine Road, cotton fields are up for harvest. The first reading tells us the miraculous healing story of Naaman, a pagan army general of the Syrian king and the cured leper, who after being healed of his leprosy, grabbed a piece of earth as a tipping point in his life, went back to Elisha, gave thanks and worshipped God. Similarly, in the Gospel story exclusive only to Luke, although it was kind of heart- breaking that only one out of ten lepers went back to thank Jesus, at least, one remembered and returned, “glorifying God…and he fell …

Violence is irrational, extra-judicial killings are unjustifiable…church must speak…

Make no mistake…don’t get me wrong…I applaud DU30’s all-out war on drugs, crime and corruption. No candidate would have embarked on this much-needed sweeping reform except him. His performance and the over- all outcome of his oplan- drug- thing plan (less than 90 days, who’s counting!) exceeded my expectations. In a program such as this, if you reach the 80% mark, it’s mission accomplished, job well done and I give you, two thumbs up even more! I’m amazed at the soaring numbers of those who stepped forward to start anew, turned themselves in-civilians and politicians-willing to undergo rehab). I don’t think there’s anyone in the laundry list that can be considered as the reincarnation of satan. I don’t know them but I stand by the inherent goodness of humanity. I maintain my claim. They are good people. They just lost direction, got hooked up, and now, badly needed help. Any reform is dangerous if it’s not handled well. Violence is irrational…Anyone in the position of authority can’t simply make decisions out of emotions…In any form …

22ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

As seen and heard in social media and real-life stories, humility is the mark of a great person. Sirach says, “My child, conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts. Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God.” During my month-long vacation, I stayed tuned at the Rio Olympics like a couch potato. Admittedly, what I enjoyed the most, as expected, was the spectacular show of talents of the best athletes in the world competing at the highest level. I looked forward to the interviews of those who brought gold, broke records, made history, gave pride to the country and upon return, given a hero’s welcome. What they have to say intrigues me. I hesitate to mention names but I have great respect and admiration to those who remain humble by giving credit not just to the sacrifices made but to their faith. In spite of their world-class talents, accolades, accomplishments, and decorated careers, the spotlight could have easily been …

WE SALUTE THE VETERANS

In honor of Veteran’s Day, a memorable tribute was given to the parish veterans last weekend. It was profoundly moving as the prayers for the living and deceased vets (heads bowed) were recited, pins handed out, taps played, among others. Thanks to the  coordinators and everyone who helped out: Carol, Cc, Veronica, CDA and JCDA. Veterans, the embodiment of courage and bravery, make America safe and secure and advance the ideals of liberty, justice and equality for all. Back when I was a younger priest, an 18-year-old kid came to see me before heading to Iraq for combat and asked for a rosary that he could keep in the battlefield. I’m not sure if it’s mere coincidence but today is the Memorial of St. Martin of Tours, patron saint of soldiers. As always, God bless…