23

To the woman who taught me how to love, to commit and to sincerely dedicate one’s life in serving God – happy birthday to the most selfless, supportive and caring wife in the world – Jude Borja! Thank you for showing me what true love is. More years of life, hope & faith together! #blessed #grateful #toloveandtohold #tocherishandhonor #tocallmyveryown #bodyheartandsoul

Fifth

“I have tomorrow to look forward to, for God has given me you.”

I will always look forward to your smile as my strength to fight all our battles.

I will always remember what you said: “I know nothing about having a perfect marriage or at least a good one, but if God comes first before ourselves then we got nothing to worry about. So whatever comes our way – by prayer, love and petition we will overcome in victory! We are one of God’s miracle & living testimony. Cheers to more years of faith, love and healing.”

More years of serving & loving the Lord!

Thank you Lord for all the graces.

See you soon my blessed half.

I Love You 😘 Happy five years of serving and loving the Lord misis ko! ❤❤❤

Fifth

Five things that my wife and I love doing together: eat, eat, eat, eat & eat plus a little travel. 😁

More years to come! #healed #loved #grateful

Joy

On the eve of our 5th church wedding anniversary, Sis. Jude and I would like to thank you for your love and prayers in our journey.

Amidst difficulties, hiccups and challenges; there were so many blessings.

Bishop Camilo Balin once said that adversities and trials means becoming more closer to God.

Take courage!

Indeed, courage it is!

My wife is in Riyadh now, I would like to ask for your prayers for the security and protection of everyone in KSA.

Grief

A selfie on the location of my new mission area in the coming days. The beautiful Our Lady of Remedies Church in Malate. In today’s Gospel, Jesus too was preparing His disciples for an awesome phenomenon they were about to witness – the Ascension. He knew that when He ascended to heaven, life as they knew it with Him in their presence would all of a sudden go dark with no apparent explanation. He reassured them: “You will grieve, but your grief will become joy” (Jn 16:20). The Son was hidden for a time, but the darkness gave way to light.

I had a chance to visit today Our Lady of Remedies in Malate, Manila for a thanksgiving mass and also to meet Bro. Edward Centeno for our weekly Light Group (LG) meeting.

Adorned in pristine white orchids, the church was a sight to behold- there was a wedding before the 6pm mass. The priest reminded the couple to have a heart of gratitude. Marriage life is a marathon and never a sprint. Enjoy the journey!

Fr. Michael Martin shared this meaningful verse:

“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.” John 16:20

Grief, mourning and even weeping is a part of life. Children will often weep at the slightest difficulty, but all of us face grief and sorrow throughout life.

In this passage above, Jesus informs His Apostles that sorrow and grief will be a part of their lives. This is a very sober but realistic statement on the part of our Lord. It’s an act of love, on His part, to be up front with His Apostles about the coming hardships they will face.

The good news is that Jesus follows this statement with the hopeful news that their “grief will become joy.” This is the most important part of what Jesus says.

The same is true in our lives. Jesus does not promise us that our lives will be free from hardship and pain. He does not tell us that following Him means that all will be easy in life. Instead, He wants us to know that we will follow in His footsteps if we choose to follow Him.

He suffered, was mistreated and ultimately killed. And this would be tragic if He did not ultimately rise from the dead, ascend into Heaven and transform all prior grief and pain into the very means of the salvation of the world.

If we follow in His footsteps, we need to see every bit of grief in our lives as potentially a means of grace for many.

If we can face the hardships of life with faith and hope, nothing will ultimately keep us down and everything will be able to be used for God’s glory and will result in great joy.

This verse spoke to me a lot. Do not despair when suffering is placed before you. Surrender all things to our Lord and let Him transform it into the joy that He promises in the end.

Lord, I surrender to You all suffering in my life. My grief, hardships, sorrow and confusion I place in Your hands. I trust that You are all-powerful and desire to transform all things into a means of Your glory. Give me hope in times of despair and trust when life is hard. Jesus, I trust in You.

The Good Doctor

We admit my wife and I tend to get sentimental rather easily while watching cinema or following a TV series.

One of the must-watch series we are following now is “The Good Doctor”.

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“The Good Doctor” is a hospital drama featuring an autistic young surgeon. Because of his troubled childhood, Dr. Shaun Murphy is forced to figure out how to navigate the world alone.

This is the story of Shaun Murphy, a young surgeon with autism and savant syndrome, who has relocated from a quiet country life to join a renowned hospital’s surgical unit.

Abused and abandoned by his parents as a child, Shaun just had his brother as his friend who could understand him.

Unfortunately, Shaun loses him in a freak accident as well.

Alone in the world and struggling to connect with those around him, Shaun just focuses on his extraordinary medical gifts to save lives and with it manages to overcome the biasness and skepticism of his colleagues against him.

I have always stayed away from medical dramas. Hospitals and diseases make me cringe. But there is something very special about The Good Doctor.

While the story is layered and there is a lot of depth in its characters, I am enjoying it mostly because of the absolutely incredible portrayal by Freddie Highmore of a young man dealing with autism.

I have no real world experience of how an autistic person might actually be, but Highmore’s performance is so sincere, so endearing and so moving, you simply cannot move your eyes away from him.

It also made me think very deeply about people dealing with similar disorders and how they lead their lives.

One of the unforgettable scenes is from the pilot episode where Shaun is being interviewed by the board of directors in the hospital (most of whom are against his appointment). He is asked why he wants to be a surgeon and his answer and they way he expresses it, really moved me.

Looking forward to completing this engaging show. And now my wife and I are Freddie Highmore’s fan for life.

What a brilliant young actor!

Heart

I grew up in the artsy and historical neighborhood of Sta. Ana in Manila and Fr. Jesus Galindo, OFM was our Parish Priest in Our Lady of the Abandoned back then.

I will never forget his informative homily and inspiring messages of hope.

He gave profound messages about the love of God and love as a verb in the light of the gospel.

Sharing his reflections, which was the main theme of the Gospel this Sunday.

Love one another, heart

Fr. Jesus Galindo, OFM in action. My wife and I visits the historical Spanish architecture inspired church of Our Lady of the Abandoned Parish in Sta. Ana, Manila last December 2017

During the early centuries of the Church, when Christians were being persecuted and martyred, some of them offered to die in place of others (just like St. Maximilian Kolbe did during World War II in the concentration camp of Auschwich). The pagans were amazed at this and remarked, “See how they love one another.”

Reading today’s papers or watching the news on TV, all we can say is, “See how they kill one another. See how they cheat one another. See how they insult one another.” (Wait till the electoral campaign begins.)

The great Mahatma Gandhi, when asked to express his views about Christianity, said: “ I have great respect for Christianity. I often read the Sermon of the Mount and have gained much from it. I know of no one who has done more for humanity than Jesus. However, the trouble is with you, Christians. You do not being to live up to your own teachings.”

Another Hindu monk who read the story of Jesus in the gospel said to a Christian: “If you can live what is taught in this book, you will convert the whole of India in five years.”

Of course, not everything is dark and negative about us.

There are also some good things going for us. Fr. Joseph Dau Vu, SVD, chaplain to Vietnamese refugees in Morong, Bataan, tells how the “boat people” were abused, robbed and even killed by fishermen from neighboring countries. But when Filipino fishermen spotted them, they offered them food and shelter. Why – they wondered? Because they are Christians. (Cf. Bel San Luis, SVD, Word Alive, Year C. p. 57)

“I give you a new commandment: love one another.” Jesus made this pronouncement in his farewell discourse, during the Last Supper. Hence, it is his last and most urgent wish.

As if he were saying: “I am going now. You might forget all the other things I did and said. Just don’t forget this one. This is the summary of everything I have told you.” And so it is indeed; for this is what our final “exam” will be about: Not about doctrines, not about catechism, not about the Bible, but about LOVE: “I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink.” Etc.

Why is this commandment called new? What is new about it? Love of neighbor is found in the Old Testament: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Lev.19:18) All other religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam) teach about love also.

What, then, is new in Christ’s commandment? “As I have loved you,” that’s what is new. Our love has to be like Christ’s, that is, sacrificial. Not emotional, not romantic, but self-sacrificing – to the point of death.

Love means different things to different people. It is perhaps the most used and abused word in the dictionary. In the name of love, young lovers elope, or steal. In the name of a newly-found “love” some spouses abandon home and children. That might be passion, infatuation or lust; but certainly not Christ’s love.

“This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. ”We usually recognize people by their uniform or attire, by which we can tell whether a person is a doctor, a policeman or a security guard. In church we wear habits, pins or crosses.

We know well, however, that these external symbols can be quite deceiving.

We often hear stories about truants disguised as priests, policemen, collectors etc. whose sole purpose is to extort money.

Christ did not choose any external mark or symbol to identify his followers.

Love is, or should be, the mark of our identity, our uniform and our habit.

We may wear crosses or pins, recite rosaries and novenas, receive holy communions, etc.

If then we go home and abuse or insult our household help, our yayas, our drivers…we simply are not true disciplesof Christ. Discipleship is not a matter of external attire; it is a matter of a loving heart.

Pahimis

A special day of thanksgiving for the loving and passionate people of upland Amadeo last week. My wife was born and raised in this beautiful municipality where coffee takes centerstage as a source of livelihood for the family.

Every year, the town fiesta was something to look forward to. My inlaws sponsor yearly a sumptuous feast for the ‘musiko’ or the marching band that goes around the city early in the morning for a heightened festive ambience.

Pahimis

My loving wife as the cutest baby in the world carried by my father-in-law. Amadeo was boldly proclaimed by former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2002 as the “Coffee Capital of the Philippines” (Batangas might have something to say to that), coffee being the main product of the town.

Dubbed as Pahimis Festival it aims to promote Cavite coffee varieties for domestic and worldwide consumption, to encourage and revive the interest of farmers towards coffee farming, increase coffee yields through proper techniques and skills training, and to create a competitive coffee price in the world market.

The municipality of Amadeo was being hailed as the Coffee Capital of the Philippines and boasts of its 4,508 hectares of coffee farmland, the largest land area devoted to coffee farming in the entire upland of Cavite, making it the province’s biggest coffee producer.

Several activities for the festival were held for the local and tourist revelers like the search for the “Coffee Queen” or the “Mutya ng Pahimis”, coffee talk and demonstrations, the unique coffee dance marathon and the yearly float parade.

Other activities included a thanksgiving mass, recognition of the Most Outstanding Coffee Farmer, exhibit of local food/delicacies, a trade fair, a variety of shows for the entertainment of guests and a coffee farm tour promoting the agri-tourism sites.

23

You give me hope in my times of trial, joy in my saddest hours and love in all I do.

Happy 23rd day of the month to the most loving and caring woman – my greater half Jude Borja! #blessed #grateful

Distance never separates two hearts that really care, for our memories span the miles and in seconds we are there.

But whenever I start feeling sad, because I miss you, I remind myself how lucky I am to have someone so special to miss. I love you!

#ldr #tighthugs #mwahmwahtsuptsup

23

You are a special gift from the heavens. Your smile warms my heart and your presence makes me whole. I love you today and forever! You make me complete. Your perfection I adore. There is no distance I cannot go to see you smile each day. I love you! You make my love melt at you, when your eyes gaze at me I become addicted at you my sweet heart. I love you so much my dear! You changed my world from the day you entered into my life. The change is not simple and subtle, it’s a change brought color to my life and made a meaning for the same. Words cannot describe how much you mean and important to me! You are my angel and I would like to see your smile always to boost up my day. I cannot imagine a day without you and without your smile. I like to be in the shadow of your love and affection forever. Thank you so much for being my wonderful wife. ❤