The In-between Space

A couple of weeks ago I was invited by a seminary classmate to “speak” at a camp for the homeless just outside of Manila. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what I would share with them. So, I decided to listen to their stories of hope and hurt. I found out that they are from different parts of the city, occupying the borderlands and in-between spaces of Manila. What unites them is their shared experience of exclusion.

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Disrupter of Peace?

The lectionary text for this week feels bizarre to say the least. Jesus says that he didn’t come to bring peace, but division. At first glance, this runs counter to everything we believe is Jesus’ message. After all, isn’t the work of sowing division and discord Satan’s doing? What’s happening here?

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Spirit of Truth

There is a story that has haunted my country for the past six years. It’s the story of those killed in the government’s war on drugs. Police say 6,000 have died. Human rights observers say the number is closer to 30,000. Regardless of whose statistics you use, far too many lives have been taken.

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The Donkey or the Horse?

This international tension would not have been foreign to Jesus and his contemporaries. In fact, the occasion that brought Jesus to Jerusalem — the Passover — was a highly charged annual event. It brought Jewish society together: the power brokers, the revolutionaries and the pious religious folk, to celebrate their liberation from imperial power.

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Hunger and Hope

This painting is called “Hapag ng Pag asa” (Table of Hope) by Filipino artist Joey Velasco. It’s his rendition of Da Vinci’s Last Supper, with a few important changes that capture one’s attention and evoke so much emotion.

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Belonging

Advent this year coincides with the election season in the Philippines. In my country, elections are often associated with polarization, division, hate, and sometimes even violence. But what is often neglected is that politics can also offer a deep sense of belonging that is similar to what people experience through religion.

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Can We Hear?

These stories, sometimes referred to as myths, don’t just shape how we see ourselves in the present moment, they also affect how we understand what is possible in the future.

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The Reality of Resurrection

At the start of Holy Week Manila and nearby provinces entered into another lockdown, causing difficulty for many, especially the most vulnerable. This pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities. Many people in the under-resourced areas of Manila are living on daily wages, and when these meager means to support their families are cut off, you can feel the fear in the air.

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Transfiguration of Power

Recent events in Myanmar and the Philippines loom large in my mind as I write this reflection from Manila. Myanmar is in the midst of a military coup, while the…

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Light from Darkness

A prison cell may be the last place we look for light; they are dim by design. But in my country, the Philippines, there is a flicker of light emanating…

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The Transformation of God

Filipino Muslims are our closest siblings, yet we are divided by our differences and a lack of trust. We were not prepared to address this lurking and lingering issue. We walked, as it were, down the road Jesus describes in his parable, asking whether we would continue to affirm the ossified lines of our identities, or transcend that which divides us?

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Hostility and Hospitality

Filipino Muslims are our closest siblings, yet we are divided by our differences and a lack of trust. We were not prepared to address this lurking and lingering issue. We walked, as it were, down the road Jesus describes in his parable, asking whether we would continue to affirm the ossified lines of our identities, or transcend that which divides us?

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Transforming Oikos

I have seen first-hand how eating together creates a community. We Filipinos like to eat together. Common meals are easily transformed into festive celebrations. In the Philippines,  a church that eats together is a vivid image of the church truly becoming a community of faith.

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