Tags: Balik-Tanaw

Balik-Tanaw | Journeying with the Magi

Sometimes it is called The Three Kings or the Visit of the Magi. This feast is familiar to us. It conjures up colorful pictures of a journey, a search, with only a star as a guide. It is placed in the liturgical cycle to deepen and broaden an understanding of incarnation. The chosen Scripture texts are inspirational as they open us up to the needs of the world, and the wisdom of nature.

Balik-Tanaw | Still God’s love is everlasting

The readings for this last Sunday of Advent are full of “messianic expectation”. They exude a hope and trust which has endured through occupation and exile and grown stronger in persecution. It is a hope centred on the key promise of God given to David, that David’s house and his kingdom would be established forever (2 Sam.7:16). After the Exile, the people longed for another David, the shepherd boy anointed by God who became a great warrior, defeated enemies in battle and united the 12 tribes around Jerusalem. With the defeat of the Davidic dynasty the people asked where was God’s promise? We see the struggle of the community with this dilemma in the Royal Psalms. Psalm 89 begins praising God’s steadfast love and faithfulness to all generations but this trust in God is being tested as the psalmist laments “where is thy steadfast love of old, which by thy faithfulness thou did swear to David” (v49).

Balik-Tanaw | For the Anawim

We live in difficult times. There are ongoing crisis in Israel-Palestine, and Ukraine-Russia, and emerging conflict in the South China Sea. Then there is the climate and economic crises that threaten food security. We are also faced with enforced disappearances, extra-judicial killings as well as violation of rights of activists, human rights defenders, environmentalists, workers and farmers, which happen with impunity.

Balik-Tanaw | The Parable of the Vineyard Workers and the plight of migrant workers

In 2021, the Philippine Statistic Authority estimates that about 1.83 million OFWs worked abroad from April to September of the same year. The same data reveal that about “four in every ten” OFWs work low-status or ‘elementary’ jobs, such as street vendors, construction and factory workers, cleaners, domestic helpers, and agriculture laborers. They are the hired workers, doing the 3Ds works, (dirty, dangerous, and demeaning). It was recorded that the majority of OFWs work in Asia, specifically Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Singapore, and Qatar.

Balik-Tanaw | But who do you say that I am?

This Sunday’s readings are focused on three issues: first, on authority (Is 22:19-23), second, on knowledge of God (Rom 11:33-3), third, on the identity of Jesus (Mt 16:13-20). At first glance, they seem to be unrelated to one another, but on deep examination, they are really pointing to a single direction. And that is, the way to our salvation. The mission of Jesus as leading us the WAY, seeking out the TRUTH and urging us to aspire for what is truly LIFE-GIVING. These three related important values in life fully capture this salvation framework.

Balik-Tanaw | Mountaintop experience

Resurrection is revealed through the transfiguration moment of Jesus. The historical figures of Moses and Elijah appeared – reminding and reconnecting the disciples about the historic role of Moses and Elijah in Israel’s life. The glorious image of the two is a historical reminder of their great roles in the history of Israel. Jesus was talking to the great men of Israel, and likewise, the disciples saw his glory.

Balik-Tanaw | Of treasures and salvation: How costly is to aspire for God’s kingdom?

In the midst of the onslaught of Typhoon Egay (Doksuri) that hit tremendously the northern provinces of the Philippines, I saw this FB post from a high school batchmate. As I continue to browse the social media, she posted another another one, lamenting and telling to God to hug her as she feels weak. Apparently, the 3 cows she owned have been missing as the typhoon begun to strike our home province Abra. My friend is currently in Hong Kong, serving as a domestic worker for the past several years.

Balik-Tanaw | Sixteenth Sunday in ordinary time

Growing up in the land, hearing stories of animals, trees, spirit beings, and people from my grandmother have been a huge part of my childhood. Though they may be somewhat far from my reality at that time, they for sure spoke of a reality at a certain period that has been passed down through generations. I could still remember my grandmother’s silky, long, silver hair that smelled like coconut oil, her sagging skin that provided me such comfort, and her voice that is filled with wisdom accumulated through the years.