Five reminders from high school for married life

The Lord Is My Chef Wedding Homily for Micah and Lery Magsaysay

20 February 2020, Parish of Hearts of Jesus and Mary, Malolos City

Book of Tobit 8:4-9 ><)))*> ><)))*> ><)))*> John 15:12-17

Photo from Micah Magsaysay.

Thank you very much Micah for inviting me to officiate your wedding today with Lery. I love doing this especially with you my former students at the Immaculate Conception School for Boys (ICSB).

I have realized while praying over this wedding homily that those five things I used to tell you every true gentleman should have in his pocket are also applicable to married life.

And so, let us review and reflect on these five things you should have not only in your pocket but in your lives as husband and wife, Micah and Lery.

Handkerchief

Photo by THR GRLN on Pexels.com

Now more than ever, in this time of corona virus, you see what we have discussed 20 years ago is very much valid today: always have a clean handkerchief for hygiene. Have two handkerchieves – one for sneezing and coughing, the other for wiping perspirations and dirt from your face.

Preferably, have a white handkerchief to remind you of Jesus Christ who is so pure and clean, sinless and spotless who came to save us by wiping away, taking all the dirt of sins in us.

Every husband and wife is like a handkerchief to each other – cleansing you of dirt and smudges, wiping dry your tears whether caused by pains and hurts or joys and laughters.

A handkerchief reminds us to be kind and merciful with others like Jesus Christ who declared in our gospel this afternoon that it was him who chose you and not you who chose him to be his signs of his presence as husband and wife.

Lery, thank you for making Micah so clean today. You know when they were in high school, he has always been good looking like his buddies – guwaping lang sila talaga, okey na pumapasa – because deep in their eyes I could see they were not ready for the class, all tired and sleepy after playing computers, waiting for their next gimmick.

But today before the Mass started, I went to see Micah and was surprised, not only is he more handsome but this time, serious and really prepared! How you have changed him, Lery, I am amazed. Have more handkerchieves, though, beginning today so you continue to make him clean.

Micah, always have that handkerchief full of pure love like Jesus, ready to die for Lery. Should you make her cry, be man enough to wipe her tears dry. And clean whatever mess you have.

Money

Money is important, Micah and Lery but it is not the most important thing in life, especially for married couples. Do not be enslaved by money. Instead, be generous with others.

Remember the story of Tobiah, the son of Tobit who went to search for a wife in Media where he is also tasked to recover the money his father had deposited in that city. On his way there, he met the Archangel Raphael disguised as a man to work for him as his guide in the journey.

Tobiah was generous to St. Raphael, paying his wage justly. St. Raphael soon found a wife for Tobiah in Sarah. Not only that: St. Raphael taught Tobiah how to drive away the devil Asmodeus who had disrupted Sarah’s earlier seven honeymoons when he would kill her husband just before they would sleep together.

With Asmodeus gone through St. Raphael’s intercession, Tobiah and Sarah prayed and went home to Tobit whose blindness was also cured by the Archangel of healing.

Be like Tobiah and Tobit. Never quarrel about money matters. When you are generous with money in helping those in need, that means you are not yet enslaved by wealth and material things.

Later, Micah you shall hand over to Lery the arrhae or arras that symbolize your money and material wealth. Be true to your pledges to be wise in handling your finances. Heed Mr. Wickfield’s admonition to Aunt Betsey’s nephew David Copperfield to never spend more than what you earn.

Pen

Photo by Plush Design Studio on Pexels.com

Micah and Lery, you are both professionals, working in the office. You are both used to seeing and using all kinds of pen to write and jot things down very important to remember.

Be like the pen, Micah and Lery. In your lives together, always leave a mark of love, a mark of kindness, a mark of understanding.

Most of all, as husband and wife, leave the marks of Jesus Christ. That is the meaning of getting married in the Church, of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony: you are now the signs of the saving presence of Jesus Christ.

When people see you and feel your deep love for each other, Micah and Lery, they will thank and praise God because they experience Christ’s coming in you.

Photo from Micah Magsaysay.

Comb

I used to tell you in high school that a real man always has a comb, ang sandata ng tunay na lalaki!

Always look good, Micah and Lery! Do not forget your self. Keep in mind that when your kids come and your careers flourish, you were first called by Jesus Christ for each other. Take care of your self, and take extra care of each other!

Photo from Micah Magsaysay.

Continue to go out and date, keep the fire of love burning inside.

After 21 years as a priest, I have less hair now but I still have a comb in my pocket. Just in case the wind blows my hair.

How I wish I have the same long, thick hair of Remo.

The comb does not merely set your hair; it also massages the scalp, soothing you when things are getting so tough and rough.

Take care of yourself, Micah and Lery… never let a “bad hair day” get you down and ruin your love for each other. When you have so much love and care for each other, even if you get old, “kahit maputi na ang buhok ninyo, Micah and Lery”, comb each other’s hair with affections.

Rosary

Photo from Micah Magsaysay.

Last but not least, I used to tell you in high school to always have a rosary in your pocket. A real man is a man of prayer.

Micah and Lery, handle your life with prayer always. Inasmuch as you have invited Jesus today to your wedding day, every day, every Sunday, invite and welcome Jesus into your lives.

May the rosary remind you always of the need to grow deeper in the love of Christ Jesus who chose and called you before this altar today.

Today, you are in Glorious Mysteries where everything is so beautiful and wonderful. But not all days are bright and sunny, Micah and Lery. The Joyful Mysteries are always followed by the Sorrowful Mysteries.

Remember the word PUSH – Pray Until Something Happens.

When you are going through a lot of darkness, the more you should pray and ask for the Luminous Mysteries, the Light of Jesus Christ to guide you and lead you into better days.

Remember those five things we have learned while in high school, Micah. They are still good and applicable in your married life. Teach them to Lery and your future children too.

Handkerchief. Money. Pen. Comb. And Rosary.

May today be the least happiest day of your lives, Micah and Lery. Amen.

Photo from Micah Magsaysay.

Married life is a prayer

The Lord Is My Chef Recipe for 40th Wedding Anniversary

Tony and Joyce Lopez, 20 October 2019

Presentation of Our Lord Parish, Filinvest 1, Batasan Hills, QC

Tony and Joyce on their 40th Wedding Anniversary, 20 October 2019 at the Presentation of the Lord Parish, Filinvest I, QC joined by their son Atty. JA and wife Kathleen with two kids, and youngest daughter Rosella.

Every Sunday I write a blog connecting the gospel with a secular song.

As I prepared my homily for your anniversary, Joyce and Tony… “the moment I woke up and before your Mommy Fely put on her make-up, I said a little prayer for you.”

Joyce mom Fely Pollard with late husband Charles’ cousin, Beth Javier.

Of course that is not the theme song of Joyce and Tony. They haven’t met yet in 1967 when Dione Warwick recorded I Say a Little Prayer. But they were already married when it became one of the tracks in the movie “My Best Friend’s Wedding” starring Julia Roberts.

And since this is my “best cousin’s wedding anniversary” in this part of the city, I have thought of reflecting on married life as a form of prayer.

In our gospel we have heard Jesus Christ narrating the parable of the unjust judge and persistent widow to underscore “the necessity to pray always without becoming weary” (Lk. 18:1).

Prayer is an expression of faith.

When there is faith, there is also love.

And when there is prayer, faith, and love, what we have is a relationship, a community of believers who love each other.

People who love and believe with each other always talk and communicate. They make time to be with one another. And most often, that is what really matters with people who love and believe – simply to be together.

Even in silence.

Like prayer.

Joyce: “During our first few years as couple, I was the one always embracing Tony; but, later until now, it is Tony who often hugs and embraces me! Nabaligtad ang scenario.”

Prayer is more than asking things from God but most of all, prayer is a relationship with God expressed with others. That is the beauty of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony: husband and wife are bound together in marriage to become signs of the saving presence of Jesus Christ.

Marriage as a sacrament means it is a prayer as well, a relationship of a man and woman with God as its source and foundation.

I am sure, Joyce and Tony along with all the other married couples here today will agree that married life requires a lot of prayers. In fact, married life is a prayer, a very difficult one that is much needed.

Like in that movie My Best Friend’s Wedding, there are real forces of evil that are trying to destroy couples. So many couples have already fallen, going their separate lives after several years of being together while on the other hand, more and more couples are refusing to get married at all due to this reality of breakups and separations.

And that is why we are celebrating today on this 40th anniversary of Joyce and Tony’s wedding! We are praying with them in expressing our faith and love for them in Christ Jesus. Prayers have kept them together, transforming them into better persons.

At the end of the parable of the persistent widow and unjust judge, Jesus posed a very crucial question for us, especially to every married couple here today: When the Son of Man comes again at the end of time, will he find faith on earth? (Lk.18:8)

Tony and Joyce at Villa San Miguel, Mandaluyong 1979.

And what shall be our response?

“Yes, Lord, you shall find faith when you come again in Joyce and Tony!”

Like Moses in the first reading, they both prayed hard with arms outstretched on many occasions as they battled life’s many challenges and struggles.

“Yes, Lord, you shall find faith when you come again in Joyce and Tony” because they have both proclaimed your word with persistence, whether it is convenient or inconvenient like St. Paul in his second letter to Timothy. They have weathered so many storms in the past 40 years and your words, O Lord, have kept them together, sharing these with their children and with everyone in their life of fidelity and love.

“Yes, Lord, you shall find faith when you come again in Joyce and Tony” now before your altar to renew their vows to love and cherish each other for the rest of their lives!

“Yes, Lord, you shall find faith when you come again” among the many couples gathered here who have remained faithful to each other despite their many sins and failures, weaknesses and shortcomings.

Joyce and Tony, you are not only a prayer of faith but also a homily of the Holy Matrimony, showing us the light and power of Jesus Christ to transform people in prayer and bring them to fulfillment.

Prayer does not change things like typhoons and earthquakes. We cannot ask God in prayer to spare us from getting sick or be exempted from life’s many trials and sufferings. Prayer cannot stop those from happening.

What prayer does is change us, change our attitude so we may hurdle life’s many blows and obstacles. Especially with couples who always find God in their lives, in good times and in bad.

Prayers transform us into better persons as children of God, especially couples who eventually look like brothers and sisters after living together in faith, hope and love.

Tony and Joyce, I am sure everyone in our family and among your friends here can attest to the many good things that have transformed you in the past 40 years.

You have changed to become the best for each other.

In the bible, the number 40 means perfect.

May God continue to perfect you, Tony and Joyce.

Keep us too in your prayers as we pray for you. Amen.

Husband and Wife, Icons of Christ

The Lord Is My Chef Recipe for Wedding of Matt Namuco and Marian Joson
29 June 2019, Minor Basilica of the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, Malolos City,
Lovely bride is my former student from ICSM-Malolos, from elementary to high school.

Congratulations to you, my dearest Marian and Matt!

In God’s infinite wisdom, he had planned in all eternity that you get married on this date – not yesterday or last year, not tomorrow or next week or next month.

God willed that you get married today on the Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul, the two pillars of the Church established by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Like you, Marian and Matt, St. Peter and St. Paul are two people of opposite personalities, of different social and cultural backgrounds but were able to overcome these to work together for Jesus Christ. We celebrate their feast together because despite their many differences, they were united in their love for Jesus Christ. It was Christ who brought them together and kept them together so his Church would grow and be what it is today.

The same is true with you, Marian and Matt: Jesus Christ brought you together in spite of your many differences to be united in his love. Most of all, Marian and Matt, Jesus wants you to be his ICONS or images in the world today that has become individualistic.

Sacred Heart Novitiate, July 2018.

An icon or image of Jesus like St. Peter and St. Paul is to be one in the Lord. A man and woman get married to become disciples of Christ, to become one in Christ, to look like Christ. That is the meaning of the word sacrament, visible sign of the saving presence of Jesus in the world.

And that is why the gospel you have chosen for your wedding day is so perfect, the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus gave us his Beatitudes that are actually directions for discipleship. The Beatitudes show us the mystery of Christ himself, calling us into a communion in him to become his icons in the world that has been trying to negate him.

For your wedding, Marian and Matt, let us reflect on the sixth Beatitude of Jesus:

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.

Matthew 5:8

Remember the Little Prince where the fox told him that “What is essential is invisible to the eye; it is only with the heart one can truly see”?

We can only see God with our hearts. The intellect alone is never enough.

And so it is too with any person.

We can learn and know so many things about another person with our intellect but nothing will be enough for us to truly love him or her unless we let our hearts see the real him or her.

The heart is the wholeness of the person. Yesterday we celebrated the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Sometimes, when we use our minds, we see the world as so dark and so evil. But, if we have hearts that can see, we will be more surprised that there are more goodness, more beauty in this world than what we hear and see in the news and around us.

Marian and Matt, always have a clean heart to see each one’s goodness and beauty.

Always go back to those early days when you first saw each other with your hearts. Aside from the kilig factor, you felt and realized something deeper with each other. The beloved disciple, St. John, wrote in our first reading, “No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us” (1 Jn. 4:11-12).

And that is how we see God and others: always with our hearts when we love.

Mt. St. Paul Retreat House in Baguio, June 2017.

To have a clean heart, Marian and Matt, is to enter into the mind of Jesus Christ and that is to embrace his Cross. Having a clean heart is becoming one with Jesus Christ, especially in his love and fidelity.

A clean heart is a loving heart that always gives life, other-centered, veritable and enduring. Always in communion with Jesus Christ who gave us the new commandment to love like him by being rooted in the Father.

The love of Christ is the fire that purifies and cleanses our hearts, unifying our intellect, will and emotion that enables us to see oneness in ourselves before God. We see not only the good and the bad sides in ourselves but also among those around us, especially those we love.

Look back at your many experiences, Marian and Matt. Look at your past lives, your struggles, your mistakes and sins. Despite all these, you have also seen and experienced God’s loving presence in you in spite of your many darkness and divisions within.

That is why you are so “blessed”, Marian and Matt, because today on your wedding day, you enter God himself and you are able to “see” him with your loving hearts despite your pains and hurt, failures and shortcomings.

Remember Marian and Matt, you are both not only one in a million but most of all, you are both once in a lifetime made by God for each other. Keep your hearts clean in Jesus Christ so you may always see God in each other. Amen.

All wedding photos by Mindstream Project headed by Patrick Paragoso.

Love and Respect in Marriage

The Lord Is My Chef Recipe for Wedding of Bryan and Catherine, 24 May 2019
St. Francis of Assisi Chapel, Fernwood Gardens, Quezon City
Ephesians 5:2a,25-32 >< }}}*> <*{{{ >< John 15:11-17
The Tamsui Lover’s Bridge, New Taipei, Taiwan. Photo by author, 29 January 2019.

Congratulations, Bryan and Catherine!

Our gospel is very clear today with Jesus telling you, “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you” (Jn.15:16). In his infinite wisdom, God had planned this day to happen today, not last year or last month nor tomorrow or next month.

Today the Lord had chosen you Bryan and Catherine to tie the knot as husband and wife in this lovely chapel so you would be his witnesses of his immense love for us. You went through a lot of challenges in your love that is a certified “LDR” – you got me thinking for sometime what those letters mean.

As classmates in elementary until you were separated in high school when Catherine and her family moved to Marilao, you remained friends. When you pursued your dreams in college, the great distance between UP Los Banos and UST in Espana did not keep you away from each other as friends until you realized you love each other that you became sweethearts.

After graduation, Catherine had to move again with her family and this time, thousands of miles away from you Bryan when there were no free messaging apps yet like Messenger and Viber. Bryan had to make those expensive overseas calls while Catherine had to be patient with the unreliable, cheap call cards bought in Asian and Filipino stores in New Jersey.

Thanks very much to Mark Zuckerberg and you had more time seeing each other in social media that your love deepened through time and distance. But, Facebook did not resolve your main issue at that time.

It was Jesus who moved you both to realize that “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn.15:13).

Both of you Bryan and Cath sacrificed so much to be finally together, today and forever. Married life is not a competition in love, in seeing who loves most. Husband and wife simply love, love, and love. St. Paul said it so well in our first reading, “live in love as Christ loved us” (Eph.5:2a).

To live in love like Christ is to respect one another.

In our gospel, Jesus said “You are my friends if you do what I command you” (Jn.15:11) which is to love like him, giving up one’s self to your friend.

Bryan and Cath, you are now the bestest of friends. In the word “friend” you find a letter “r” that if you remove it, you get the new word “fiend” or enemy, the exact opposite of friend. That letter “r” in “friend” stands for respect which means in Latin “to see or look again”.

Without respect, any love will not grow. Without respect, love withers and dies. Respect deepens our love because in seeing again, in looking back to our loved ones, we remember our vows to always love.

From Google.

Three things I wish to share with you Bryan and Catherine about respect so you may live in love as the bestest of friends.

First, always look at your very selves, see yourself as the beloved of God.

God makes no mistakes. You are God’s perfect creation as he intended when he created you, Bryan and Catherine. Be proud of who you are even you have lost your hair or have had wrinkles, or gained weight to have so much “love handles” around your waist.

Bryan… Catherine… you are not only one in a million… you are a once in a lifetime.

Catherine, stay true to who you are as a woman. St. Paul never meant in our first reading that the wife must lose her identity in a relationship. Everything and everyone changes for sure, but a healthy marriage will always grow with you and never against you.

When you are apart and not together due to work, always look at each other. Always try to see the other looking at you. That is respect because in that way, you remain faithful to each other and avoid sin.

Second, always look back to your dreams, to your plans and vision in life.

The ideal man finds himself first before he finds his ideal woman, and vice versa. What do I mean? Many people have sights but not all have visions. A visionary is someone who dreams with eyes wide opened. Vision makes us see where we are going and what it will take to get us there. Like the “Mission-Vision” thing you have Bryan in Maynilad.

The moment a man/woman starts to have a vision of himself/herself with a partner in achieving that dream in the future, then he/she has become the ideal husband/wife. When you have a purpose in life and included in that is someone special, even if you have not met him/her yet, then you are the man, you are the woman.

When trials come in your lives Bryan and Catherine, look again into your vision and dreams in life. Start to work for it again with each other, together as one. If you have to start all over again, do so. Together. Pursue your dream and make it come true!

Third, every day, Bryan and Catherine, look again to God. Always see God in your life. Remember the Holy Family how every year they would go to Jerusalem to worship God. When the child Jesus was lost and they could not find him, they went back to Jerusalem and found him in the Temple. Mary and Joseph looked to God to find Jesus and they found him!

When you always look to God Bryan and Catherine, you will also find yourselves and your dreams. In that, you live in love, respecting each other always as gifts from God.

May today be the least happiest day of you life as husband and wife, Bryan and Catherine! Amen.

From Google.