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Vatican has announced the extension of the plenary indulgences to avoid the influx of people in public places such as churches, cemeteries and columbaries.

According to the Catholic News Agency, last October 23, 2020, a decree was signed by Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary, stating that indulgences can be acquired for the whole month of November.

Indulgences are merits received through certain pious acts, which can help revoke temporal punishment caused by sin for those who have died.

Cardinal Piacenza said that the new provisions were made after the bishops’ request of the extension of plenary indulgence given the importance of the commemoration of the feasts of All Saints’ Day on November 1 and All Souls’ Day on November 2. He also mentioned that live-streamed Masses were beneficial for those individuals who cannot attend the liturgy physically.

“There is therefore a pursuit by the bishops to implement all possible solutions to bring people back to the Church, always respecting everything that needs to be done for the particular situation in which we unfortunately find ourselves,” said the Cardinal.

With the penitentiary’s new decree, individuals who cannot go outside may still receive indulgences, while others may attend mass in the Churches and visit their departed loved ones, following the implemented health protocols.

The decree also highlights the importance of the availability of the sacraments during the whole month of November.

“For an easier attainment of divine grace through pastoral charity, this penitentiary earnestly prays that all priests endowed with the appropriate faculties offer themselves with particular generosity to the celebration of the sacrament of Penance and to administering Holy Communion to the sick,” according to the decree.

Every November, Catholics have two traditional means of obtaining plenary indulgences for the souls: the faithful may receive full indulgence each day from November 1 to November 8 when they visit a cemetery to pray for the departed and fulfilled other conditions, and when they go to a church or an oratory to pray for the faithful departed on November 2, All Souls’ Day.

These plenary indulgences had been extended throughout November to avoid large gatherings in public places that may expose the faithful to the risk of COVID-19. The indulgences can thus be obtained on any day in November.

Those who cannot leave the house, on the other hand, including the elderly, the sick, the children, and others for serious reasons may receive indulgences by reciting prayers for the deceased in front of an image of Jesus or the Virgin Mary.

One also must fulfill certain conditions such as: having a spirit detached from sin; going to confession; receiving the Eucharist; praying for the pope’s intentions; and being united spiritually with all the faithful. (Fatima Llanza/RCAM-AOC)


Maraming beses sa mga Bible study na ginagawa ko, natanong ko ang mga umaattend, “Maaari bang utusan na mahalin ang isang tao? Mauutusan ba ang pag-ibig?” Almost all the time ang sagot ay, hindi.

Ang pag-ibig sabi nila, ay dumadating na lang. kapag tinamaan ka ng pana ni Cupid, magmamahal ka, hindi na ito mapipigilan.

Sa ganitong pananaw, ang nasa isip ng tao ay ang romantic love. Ito ay pag-ibig na nasa damdamin lang. At ang damdamin ay hindi mauutusan. Hindi ito maco-control pero ito ay hindi ang pag-ibig na siyang pinaka-sentro ng katuruan ni Jesus Christ.

Ang center ng ating pagka-Kristiyano ay ang pag-ibig. Ang pinakamahalagang kautusan ay magmahal. Kaya mauutusan tayong umibig kasi ang pagmamahal ay wala lang sa damdamin o sa feeling. Ito ay nasa kalooban, nasa will. Ito ay dine-desisyunan natin. Dine-desisyunan kong magmahal. Mas maaasahan at mas malalim ang ganitong pag-ibig. Love is forever if we decide it to be so. It is a commitment.

Ang kautusan ni Moses na matatagpuan natin sa Pentateuch o sa Torah, ang unang limang aklat ng Bibliya na siyang pinakamahalaga sa lumang tipan. Ito ang Bibliya ng mga Hudyo. Ito po ay naglalaman ng 613 laws. Napakaraming batas. Hindi ito magagampanan ng lahat kaya isa sa pinaka pinagdedesisyunan, pinagdidiskusyunan ng mga dalubhasa sa batas ng mga Hudyo ay, alin baa ng pinakamahalaga sa mga ito? Kung hindi naman masunod ang lahat ng 613 laws, at least sundin ang mahahalagang batas.


Sinubok si Hesus ng kilalang guro sa Israel, “Alin ba ang pinakamahalgang batas?” Walang pasubali at walang pagdududa ang sagot ni Hesus, “Mahalin mo ang Diyos ng hiti sa lahat.” Ito po ay galing sa aklat ng Deutoronomyo, chapter 6, na nire-recite ng mga Hudyo ilang beses araw araw. Ang tawag sa dasal na ito ay “Shema Israel.” Makinig ka Israel, iisa lang ang Diyos, si Yahweh, ang Panginoon. Mahalin mo siya ng buong puso, ng buong kaluluwa at ng buong pag-iisip. Ang ibig sabihin, mahalin mo siya ng buong pagkatao mo.

Isa lang ang tanong kay Hesus, ang pinakamahalagang utos. Hindi lang isa ang sagot ni Hesus kundi dalawa. Ibinigay niya ang pangalawang utos. Ang pangalawa ay tulad ng una, “Mahalin mo ang iyong kapwa tulad ng iyong sarili.” Galing naman ito sa aklat ng Levitico, chapter 19. Dalawa ang binigay ni Hesus kasi hindi makatatayo ang una ng wala ang pangalawa. Walang pag-ibig sa Diyos na walang pag-ibig sa kapwa.

Kung walang sukatan ang pag-ibig sa Diyos sapagkat siya’y iisa lang at mahalin natin siya ng buong pagkatao natin, mayroon naming sukatan ang pag-ibig sa kapwa. Ang sukatan ay ang pag-ibig sa sarili. Ang ibig sabihin nito kung ano ang ibig mong gawin sayo, gawin mo sa iba. Ano ang ayaw mong gawin sayo, huwag mong gawin sa iba. Ibig mong unawaiin ka, unawain mo ang iba. Gusto mong pakinggan ka, pakinggan mo ang iba. Gusto mong igalang ka, igalang moa ng iba. Ayaw mong dayain ka, huwag mong dayain ang iba. Ayaw mong murahin ka, huwag mong murahin ang iba. Ayaw mong lamangan ka, huwag kang manglamang sa iba. Simple lang hindi ba?

Paano ba natin mamahalin ang Diyos ng higit sa lahat? Unahin natin siya sa ating panahon. Paano mong masasabi na mahal mo siya ng higit sa lahat kung sa halip na magdasal, inuuna mo pa ang TV. Sa halip na magsimba, inuuna mo pa ang trabaho. Minamahal din natin ang Diyos ng higit sa lahat kung ang ating material resources, ang Diyos ang inuuna natin. May mga budget tayo para sa bahay, para sa kuryente at para sa iba pang mga bilihin.  Pero wala naman tayong budget para sa Diyos. Wala tayong inilaan o isinasantabi para sa Kanya. Kung may kontribusyon para sa simbahan, kung anon a lang ang mabunot, yan ang ibinibigay. Hirap nga ang mgataong magbigay ng tithing, ang hirap naman magbigay ng ikapo. Isa lang sa sampu ang maiibibigay natin. Ang siyam naman ay naiiwan sa atin. Akala ko ba mahal mo ang Diyos ng higit sa lahat?

Isa pang paraan ng pagmamahal sa Diyos ay ang pagmamahal sa kapwa. Kaya hindi hiniwalay ni Hesus ang pag-ibig sa Diyos sa pag-ibig sa kapwa.

St. John tells us in his first letter, “In this is love, not that we have love God but that He loved us and sent His son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. 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.”

Kapag pag-ibig ang pinag-uusapan, ang unang dapat i-consider ay ang pag-ibig ng Diyos sa atin. Mahal tayo ng Diyos. Totoo ba, mahal ba tayo ng Diyos? Paano natin alam na mahal Niya tayo? Ang madalas na sagot na binibigay sa akin ay, sapagkat buhay pa tayo, sapagkat malusog tayo wala tayong sakit. Kapag namatay na tayo, hindi tayo mahal ng Diyos? Kapag nagkasakit na tayo, hindi tayo mahal ng Diyos? Hindi. Ano man ang kalagayan natin mahal tayo ng Diyos at ang tanda, ibinigay niya si Hesus sa atin. Ganun tayo kamahal ng Diyos na ang the best niya, ang kanyang kaisa isang anak ay ibinigay niya sa atin. Dahil sa ganun ako kamahal, dapat kong mahalin ang aking kapwa.

Hindi natin nakikita ang Diyos, paano natin siya mamahalin? Nakikita natin ang ating kapwa at kasama natin ang ating kapwa, kaya sa pagmamahal natin sa kanila nagiging ganap ang pag-ibig natin sa Diyos. Nagiging konkreto ang pag-ibig natin sa Diyos.

Sino naman ang kapwang mamahalin natin? Sabi ni Jesus, “If you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not tax collector do the same? If you greet your brothers only, what is a unusal about that? Do not the pagans do the same? Love is not a close circuit affair. I love those who love me and are good to me and in turn they love me back.”

Kaya ang kapwa na ating unang mamahalin ay iyung mga mahihina. Yung mga hindi pinapansin. Yung mga isinasang tabi, pinagsasamantalahan. Kaya nga sa ating First Reading na galing sa aklat ng Exodo, wina-warningan tayo na huwag natin pagsamantalahan ang mga vulnerablepeople na noong panahon ay ang mga dayuhan dahil sa wala silang kakampi. Ang mga balong babae wala nang asawa na katuwang, mga ulila, mga bata na wala nang magulang na magproprotekta sa kanila at ang mga mahihirap. Walang wala na sila sa buhay.

Sa ating panahon ngayon pwede nating palawakin itong mga vulnerable people. Nandiyan yung mga matatanda na hindi na tinatanggap ng kanilang mga pamilya. Nandiyan yung mga bilanggo, nandiyan yung mga may kapansanan. Nandiyan yung mga HIV-AIDS victims. Sila po yung mga bago nang vulnerable ngayon. Huwag natin silang apihin at pagsamantalahan.

Dalawang beses narinig sa maiksing pagbasa natin na kapag sila ay tmatawag sa Diyos at dahil sa wala naman silang kasama, kakampi, sa Diyos lamang sila tumatawag, pakikinggan sila ng Diyos sapagkat ang Diyos ay mahabagin.

May isang mahalagang bagay na  dapat pansinin sa narinig natin na galing sa aklat ng Exodo – yung pagpautang ng may tubo.

Ngayong panahon ng pandemic, maraming tao ay nawalan ng hanap buhay. One way to cope is to borrow. Kung ang kapwa ay nanghihiram dahil sa kahirapan, wala ng pagkain, may sakit. Hindi tama na magkakainterest pa tayo sa kanyang kagipitan sa buhay na tayo ay kikita dahil sa siya’y naghihirap. Iba ang nanghihiram para magtayo ng negosyo. Okay lang na makibahagi tayo sa kita ng ating pera na ginagamit niya pero huwag nating pagkakakitaan ang kahirapan ng iba.

Ito ay totoo rin sa mga bansa. Kaya nananawagan ang Santo Papa at maraming mga world leaders na magkaroon ng debt cancellation. Tanggalin na ang mga utang ng mga mahihirap na bansa upang matugunan nila ang basic needs ng kanilang mga tao, mga gamut, mga pagkain kaysa magbayad ng interest o kaya ng utang sa mga malalaking bangko at mayayamang bansa.

Tulad ng sinabi kanina sa simula ng misa, ngayon ay Prison Awareness Sunday. Ang mga bilanggo ay mga kapwa din natin na naisasangtabi na sila ay vulnerable kasi sila ay nakakulong at sila ay dapat din nating pansinin at mahalin. Kaya nandito sa atin yung mga pari na nagtratrabaho sa Prison Ministry sa ating RJ ministry natin. So, nandito yung mga madre, nandito yung mga BJMP, nandito yung ibang mga volunteers sa iba’t ibang mga jails natin upang  mabigyan ng tunay na rehabilitation ang ating mga bilanggo. Kasi kawawa ang kalagayan ng mga nasa bilangguan nating mga kapatid. Yan ay aabot sa hindreds of thousands.

Nakakalungkot at nakakagalit ang kalagayan ng ating mga jails. Inhuman ang kanilang kalagayan. Siksikan, madumi, walang basic services, pinagsasamantalahan at kung minsan inaabuso pa. Dapat yun ay mga rehabilitation facilities ngunit people there are not rehabilitated at all. There is very little program for rehabilitation. At sila po’y nangangailangan ng tulong. They appreciate very much kahit na sabon lang o toothpaste na inaabot sa kanila.

At si Hesus mismo pinahalagahan ang mga nasa piitan na sinabi niya, “Ako’y nasa bilangguan, dinalaw nyo ako. Halina sa kaharian na inihanda sa inyo. Ako’y nasa piitan, hindi nyo dinalaw, punta kayo sa impiyerno.”  Kaya ang prison ministry ay malaking bahagi ng gawain po ng ating simabahan sa ating pagsunod kay Hesus.

Sabi ng iba, hayaan na ang mga bilanggo, masasamang tao yan. Dapat naman na sila’y parusahan. Mga kapatid, hindi po totoo na ang mga nandoon ay masasamang tao. Marami na nasa jails natin ay hindi naman dapat naroon. Sila’y biktima ng injustice. Marami sa kanila ay maliliit na tao na napagbintangan.

At ito’y totoo, lalung lalo na sa mga political prisoners. And there are hundreds of political prisoners. They are there because of their political beliefs and they are victims of injustice done by law officers who plant evidences and make cases against them.

Senator de Lima is a clear example of this. She is in detention for four years already without any conviction. Justice delayed is justice deied. At yan ay totoo hindi lang kay Senator de Lima, napakaraming mga nasa bilangguan na dapat ay wala na doon. Ang bagal ng takbo ng ating justice system kaya kumpulan sila sa mga bilangguan natin. Sana po alamin natin ang kanilang kalagayan at panindigan sila.

Love is not just a romantic feeling. It is not just about feeling good. It is a commitment for the good. And there are so many who are uncomfortable on the Christian message of love of God and love of neighbor. This is why even today, Christianity is the most persecuted religion.

Bakit naman uusigin, sisirain ang mga simbahan? Ikukulong ang mga tao na naniniwala at nagsisikap na isabuhay ang pag-ibig sa Diyos at pag-ibig sa kapwa. Tulad ng ginagawa nila sa China ngayon. Bakit? Dahil sa kung talagang mahal natin ang Diyos ng higit sa lahat, uunahin natin siya at ang kanyang mga utos. Ayaw yan ng mga regimes, mga systems at mga tao who claimed that they are the greatest.

Bakit? Dahil sa kung mahal natin ang ating kapwa, lalo na ang mga pinagsasamantalahan, malalantad ang pang-aabuso na ginawa nila at ayaw yan ng mga nang-aabuso.

Every Holy Mass is a celebration of love, how God love us so much in Christ Jesus. He gives Himself to us that we may live. At sinabi ni Hesus sa bagong tipan, “Magmahalan kayo tulad ng pagmamahal ko sa inyo. Ang sukatan ng pag-ibig ngayon ay hindi na pag-ibig natin sa ating sarili. Ngunit ang pag-ibig ni Hesus sa atin. At paano siya nagmahal? Ibinigay niya ang sarili niya sa atin. Kaya nakikinabang tayo dahil sa Siya’y nagbigay ng sarili niya.

The fruit of this celebration is the deep consciousness that we are loved. Dahil sa ganoon tayo kamahal ng Diyos, mahalin natin ang bawat isa. (Archdiocese of Manila – Office of Communications/RCAM-AOC)


His Holiness Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Jose F. Advincula of the Archdiocese of Capiz as among new Cardinals together with 12 others.

The Pope made the announcement during his Sunday Angelus in the Vatican on October 25, 2020. The new cardinals will be elevated at a consistory on November 28, 2020.

Cardinal-elect Archbishop Jose F. Advincula 

Born on March 30, 1952, in Dumalig, Capiz, Archbishop Advincula was ordained priest on April 14, 1976. He completed his studies in Theology and Canon Law at the University of Santo Tomas.

He was appointed bishop on July 25, 2000, and was consecrated on September 8, 2001. On November 9, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as Archbishop of Capiz after the retirement of Archbishop Onesim Cordoncillo. He has been serving as Archbishop of Capiz since January 2012.

According to Vatican News, nine of 13 new cardinals are “younger than 80” and therefore, have the right to participate in a future conclave,” and Archbishop Advincula will be one of them. Four others are older than 80 years of age.”

Archbishop Advincula, according to CBCPNews becomes the ninth Filipino cardinal, following cardinals Orlando Quevedo, Luis Antonio Tagle, Gaudencio Rosales, Jose Sanchez, Ricardo Vidal, Jaime Sin, Julio Rosales and Rufino Santos.

He will also be among the four current Filipino cardinals, alongside Rosales, Quevedo and Tagle. Both Rosales and Quevedo are over 80 and are no longer eligible to take part in a conclave.

Here is the list of the 13 new cardinals: Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory, Maltese Bishop Mario Grech; Italian Bishop Marcello Semeraro, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints; Italian Capuchin Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, who has served as the Preacher to the Papal Household since 1980; Archbishop Celestino Aós Braco of Santiago, Chile; Archbishop Antoine Kambanda of Kigali, Rwanda; Archbishop Jose Fuerte Advincula of Capiz, Philippines; Bishop Cornelius Sim, Vicar Apostolic of Brunei; Archbishop Augusto Paolo Lojudice, former Rome auxiliary bishop and current Archbishop of Siena-Colle di Val d’Elsa-Montalcino, Italy; Fra Mauro Gambetti, Custos of the Sacred Convent of Assisi; Emeritus Bishop Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico; Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi, Permanent Observer Emeritus to the United Nations Office and Specialized Agencies in Geneva; and Enrico Feroci, parish priest of Santa Maria del Divino Amore at Castel di Leva, Rome. (Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC) 


Quiapo Church expressed their gratitude to the city government of Manila for allowing the increase of the number of attendees during a public celebration of the holy mass on October 21, 2020.

Photo Credit - Quiapo Church


According to Veritas News, Fr. Douglas Badong, Parochial Vicar of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene or Quiapo Church, acknowledged that the health protocols being implemented are actually very beneficially primarily for the faithful. He also mentioned that this is also a way for them to practice the new normal in the celebration of the Holy Masses, especially with the upcoming Simbang Gabi.

“Maganda rin ngayon kasi, at least nasasanay na ang mga tao, madidisiplina ang tao sa pagpasok at paglabas ng simbahan. Inihahanda tayo para sa pagdating ng Simbang gabi medyo aware na sila at kung papano kumilos at paano ang galaw natin sa misa,” said Fr. Badong during an interview with Radio Veritas

Fr. Badong expects that church-goers must always follow the health protocols despite the easing of restrictions in Manila to prevent the transmission of the virus.

With the lowering of the level of the community quarantine being implemented, the people must become disciplined and accustomed to the safety health measures, such as wearing of face mask and face shield as well as observing physical distancing.

Last October 19, 2020, the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) announced that Churches in the city of Manila are now allowed at 30 percent seating capacity.

This was after Manila Mayor Isko Moreno’s executive order authorizing the increase of the percentage of seating capacity in religious gatherings. (Fatima Llanza/RCAM-AOC) 


Caritas Manila, the social service arm of the Archdiocese of Manila received 100 thousand Euros cash assistance from Caritas Germany.

The donation, according to a news post on the website of Radio Veritas, will be used for Caritas Damayan Emergency Food and Non-Food Assistance project for COVID-19 Extreme Enhanced Community Quarantine Families of Caritas Manila that started on October 19, 2020.

Fr. Anton CT Pascual, Executive Directo of Caritas Manila | Photo Credit to Caritas Manila Facebook Page 


The program aims to provide assistance to more than 4,500 residents in Barangay 201 in Pasay City, more particularly in the territory covered by the Most Blessed Sacrament Parish, which is one of the areas declared to have the most number of families affected by the coronavirus and were placed under Extreme Enhanced Community Quarantine after several months.

Fr. Anton CT Pascual, Executive Director of Caritas Manila, said that the assistance extended by Caritas Germany has provided great help to poor families affected by the pandemic. The collaboration of the two Church institutions is proof that the Catholic Church is true to its mission of serving the poor, according to the priest.

“We are grateful to Caritas Germany for their help for the poor affected by the pandemic here in Pasay City. We know that covid19 damages not only the health of the Philippines but also the livelihood. Many today are starving and malnourished in children. The poor have increased by 8-million. Caritas Germany's response of P5-million Pesos is a big help to the urban poor in this crisis. This is the real charity in Action. We spread the CHARITY VIRUS against Coronavirus,” Fr. Pascual told Radio Veritas.

The “poorest among the poor families” in the said area in Pasay City will receive food packs containing rice, canned goods, pancit, dried fish, legumes. They will also receive hygiene kits that include alcohol, face mask, gloves, soap and vitamins.

Caritas Manila ensures the strict observance of proper social distancing and health protocols during the distribution.

During ECQ, Caritas Manila has distributed more than P1.7 Billion worth of gift certificates to families affected by COVID-19 throughout Metro Manila including neighboring provinces. This was made possible in collaboration with various groups, organizations and business institutions. Caritas Manila continues to extend help and assistance to the poor through their ongoing distribution of manna gift packs. (Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC) 



The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (CBCP-ECPPC) lauded the Volunteers in Prison Service (VIPS) who are working hard to serve the ministry despite the threat of the pandemic.

In an interview of Radio Veritas with Fr. Nezelle Lirio, executive secretary of CBCP- ECPPC, the priests extended its gratitude to the Volunteers in Prison Service as the Prison Awareness Week commenced on October 19, 2020.

The priest also recognized the VIPs important role in helping the prisoners feel the love and care of the Lord for them especially during this time of the pandemic

“I am very hopeful and grateful that our VIPS are indeed very resourceful and never frightened by this situation. They can find ways on how to keep this celebration be observed to continuously spread the unconditional love of God that brings hope and restore justice. My dear VIPS, thank you in tirelessly proclaiming god’s unconditional love in every way you can,” said Fr. Lirio.

Aimed at inspiring Filipinos to pay attention to the situation of the prisoners across the country, the theme for this year’s celebration is “Restoring Hope and Healing during this Time of Pandemic through God’s Transforming Unconditional Love.” The 33rd Prison Awareness Week will be celebrated from October 19-25, 2020.

According to CBCP- ECPPC, there are only about 2,500 volunteers across the country who assist the church in providing various programs that give them hope and start anew. (Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC)


Ngayon nga po ay Mission Sunday kaya hingin natin ang tulong ng Nuestra Senora del Pilar sa pagkakalat ng mabuting balita sa buong mundo.

Ang atin pong paksa ngayong Mission Sunday ay, “Here I am Lord, Send Me.” Dito po’y pinapakita natin kasama ni propeta Isaias ang ating kahandaan, an gating availability. Hindi man tayo makapunta sa mga mission territories, pero lahat sana tayo maging available sa paglilingkod sa Diyos.

At ngayon po ay gamitin na natin ang availability na ito sa ating pakikinig sa Salita ng Diyos. Tanggapin natin ang Kanyang salita sa atin ngayong araw 

Kailangan bang magbayad ng buwis? Kapag buwis ang pinag-uusapan, umiinit ang dugo ng marami. Masakit obligahin para magbigay ng pera, para maglabas ng pera. Mas masakit pa kung hindi ginagamit ang buwis sa makatarungang paraan. Ang buwis ay galing sa taong bayan, pinagpaguran yan ng tao upang itoý magamit sa pagserbisyo sa bayan.

Pero kung ito ay hindi nagagamit ng maayos, tulad ng pagsasayang lang nito sa mga projects na wala naming kabuluhan tulad ng paglalagay ng puting buhangin sa beach na hindi naman napapakinabangan. O kung ang buwis ng tao ay pumupunta lang sa korapsiyon tulad ng pork barrel ng mga politico, mas lalung kumukulo ang dugo ng marami.

Pero hindi lang isang uri ang buwis. At the time of Jesus, there were several kinds of taxes. There was the temple tax that people paid for the maintenance of the temple, the priest and the levites. Then, most probably, there were the taxes on goods and business. Ito siguro yung kinikoleta ni Mateo at Zaccheus.

 

In our gospel reading, the issue is on the census tax. Kapag nabibilang ka sa census, ikaw ay magbibigay ng tax. Ang census ay ang pagbibilang kung ilan ang nasasakupan ng isang kaharian. Kaya sa pagbibigay ng census tax, pinapakilala mo na ikaw ay sa ilalim ng mga Romano. The Romans at the time of Jesus was an occupying force. People do not want to be under occupation. They want to be governed by their own leaders and not by foreigners. Kaya malaking issue sa mga Hudyo ang pagbabayad ng census tax.

Ang tanong kay Hesus ay, “Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?” Lawful to whom? Surely, not to the Romans. Para sa mga Romana ang lahat ay dapat magbigay ng buwis kay Caesar, ang pangulo ng Roman empire. The question of lawfulness refers to the laws of the Jews. This question was a trap and Jesus knew this.

Kung sasagot si Hesus na ok lang ayon sa batas ng mga Hudyo na magbayad ng buwis sa mga Romano, maaakusahan si Hesus na makadayuhan, na hindi siya makabayan. Pero kung sasagot si Hesus na hindi nararapat na magbayad ng buwis sa mga Romano, kakasuhan siya ng rebelde sa mga Romano. It would be a political crime.

Bago siya sumagot, nagrequest siya ng Roman coin na ginagamit sa pagbayad ng census tax. At agad binigyan naman siya ng mga nagtatanong sa kanya. Ibig sabihin, ginagamit nila ang pera ng mga Romano na doon nakaukit ang larawan ng Caesar. Nakikinabang sila sa serbisyo ng mga Romano kaya ang sagot ni Hesus, “Gumagamit kayo ng mga bagay na mga Romano, dapat kayong magbigay sa mga Romano. Pera nila ang inyong ginagamit.” In a way, the answer of Jesus legitimizes support to civil authorities because they use the services of the said civil authorities. 

Kung ganun kayo sa civil authorities, mas lalong ganun dapat kayo sa Diyos. Nakikinabang kayo sa mga bagay na galing sa Diyos at ang lahat ng bagay ay galing sa Diyos. Mas lalo tayong magbigay ng nararapat sa Kanya.

Dahil sa ang Diyos ay Diyos ng lahat ng bagay at lahat ng tao, kumikilos ang Diyos sa kasaysayan sa pamamagitan ng mga tao at mga hari kahit hindi nila siya kilala. Ito ang sinabi sa atin sa Unang Pagbasa, si Siro ay hari ng mga Persians, hindi siya Hudyo at malamang hindi niya kilala si Yahweh. Ngunit siya ay ginamit ni Yahweh upang ang mga Hudyo ay makabalik sa kanilang lupain. Tinalo ni Siro ang mga Babylonians na bumihag sa mga Hudyo. Pinayagan niya ang mga bansa na pinatapon ng mga Babylonians na bumalik sa kanilang pinanggalingan. Nakita ng mga Hudyo na si Siro ay tinalaga ng Diyos, ginamit ng Diyos, ni Yahweh upang sila ay makalaya.

Ganun din hanggang ngayon, ang Diyos ang nagpapatakbo ng kasaysayan at ginagamit niya ang mga tao at mga pangyayari upang matupad ang Kanyang plano. Kahit na ang mga taong ito ay hindi kumukilala sa Kanya. Pero kapag sila ay sumobra naman, mananagot sila sa Diyos because God is Lord of all.

Maraming mga tao ay may maling pag-unawa sa katuruan ni Hesus. “Give to Caesar what beongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” They see this as a verse to support the separation of Church and state. They view Caesar and God as co-equal independent powers. Wrong. Mali. Caesar and God are not co-equal powers. God is creator and He is the source of all even emperor Caesar is under Him. Caesar also belongs to God. At ayon sa utos ng Diyos, dapat mahalin ang Diyos ng higit sa lahat. Siya ang nauuna sa lahat. Mas nauuna pa siya kay Caesar. Pati ang paglilingkod natin sa gobyerno o sa civil authority ay napapasailalim sa ating paglilingkod sa Diyos. Pinapayagan ni Hesus na ibigay natin ang paggalang at pagkilala na naaayon nsa isang may kapangyarihan sapagkat lahat naman ng kapangyarihan ng authority ay galing sa Diyos.

Pero kung ang authority na ito ay hindi na sumusunod at taliwas sa paraan ng Diyos, we must obey God rather than man. Ito ay tandaan ng mga naglilingkod sa pamahalaan kasama na ng mga kapulisan at ng mga nasa military. Ang unang loyalty nila ay sa Diyos hindi sa sino mang political or military leader. Kapag ang ginagawa o pinapagawa sa kanila ay labag na sa batas ng Diyos, ang dapat nilang pagsilbihan at katakutab ay ang Diyos. Huwag dapat nilang itaya ang kanilang kaluluwa sa sino mang leader na tao lamang na namamatay, na lilipas. Lilipas ang mga leaders na ito. Ang Diyos lang ang mananatili at lahat tayo ay sa Kanya mananagot.

The separation of Church and state ay wala sa Bible. Ito ay nasa Philippine Constitution upang bawalan at pigilan ang pamahalaan na makialam sa gawain ng religion. The mother provision is found in article 2, section 6 of the Constitution which states, “The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable,” ibig sabihin hindi maaaring i-violate.

This principle is given in a specific provisions in the present constitution:

1) The government is prohibited from establishing its own religion. (Article 3, Section 5)

2) The government is prohibited from preventing the free exercise of any religion. (Same article same section)

3) The government is prohibited from giving or showing any preference to or discrimination against any religion. (Section 5, Article 3)

4) The government is prohibited from using any religious test for the exercise of any civil or political rights. (Article 3, Section 5)

5) Churches, convents, mosques and all the lands, buildings and procurements that are actually directly and exclusively used for religious purposes are exempt from taxes. (Article 6, Section 28)

6) The government is prohibited from appropriating and using any public money or property for the direct or indirect use, benefit or support of any religion, church, priest, pastor or imam. (Article 6, Section 29)

7) The government is prohibited from registering as political party any religious denominations or sects. (Article 9, Section 2)

And lastly,

8) The government is prohibited from teaching religion as mandatory in public schools. Classes in religion shall only be allowed to be taught in public schools if the parents give their consent in writing. (Article 14, Section 3)

As you see, all of the prohibitions are directed to the government. Huwag tayong maniwala sa manipulasyon na hinagamit sa atin na kapag nagsasaita na ang simbahan laban sa katiwalian at pang-aabuso ng kapangyarihan, sinasabihan na manahimik tayo dahil sa separation of Church and state. Mali. Hindi tayo pinagbabawalan na magsalita. May karapatan at may tungkulin nga tayong magsalita bilang mabubuting Kristiyano, bilang mabubuting mamamayan. Hindi tayo mapapatahimik dahil sa ang tungkulin ng simbahan ay maghayag at kumilos para sa katotohanan, sa katarungan, sa kapayapaan at sa pag-ibig.

Kapag may pang-aapi, dapat magsalita ang Kristiyano. Kung hindi siya magsasalita, kinakampihan na niya ang nang-aapi, pinapayagan na niya ang oppression. Kung alam mong ang isang bagay ay isang kasinungalingan, at wala kang sinasabi, hinahayaan mo nang kumalat ang kasinungalingan. There is no neutral ground in front of injustice, oppression and lies.

Sa Banal na Misang ito, habang pinagdadasal natin ang mga misyonero, ipagdasal din natin na maging tapat tayo sa ating misyon sa buhay. Nawa, maging tapat ang mga namamahala sa tungkulin nila sapagkat pinagsweswelduhan sila ng buwis na galing sa tao.

Nawa’y maging tapat din tayong mga mamamayan na bantayan ang pinagsweswelduhan natin, ang binabayaran natin. Sila ang dapat sumunod sa atin sapagkat ating pera, ating buwis ang ginagamit nila.

Mahalaga ang paalaalang ito na ngayon ay pinag-uusapan sa kongreso - ang budget ng bansa. Yan po, pera natin ang pinag-uusapan nila.

Ang summary ng mga pagbasa ngayong Linggo ay sinabi ng ating Responsorial Psalm, “Give the Lord glory and honor.” Siya ang pagpugayan at paglingkura. Give to God what belongs to God and all things, everything belongs to God and is subject to Him. To Him be glory and honor forever and ever, amen. (Archdiocese of Manila – Office of Communications/RCAM-AOC)

 

 

 

 


As the Simbang Gabi season approaches, the Archdiocese of Manila has started coordinating with Local Government Units (LGU) for the guidelines in holding the evening and dawn masses in December.

According to Veritas News, Most Rev. Broderick S. Pabillo, Apostolic Administrator of Manila and Chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines – Episcopal Commission on the Laity, said that the Church is also putting into consideration the order from the government regarding the implementation of the curfew hours.

“Naghihintay kami sa mga Local Government Units (LGUs) especially about the curfew; hinihingi lang namin na gawing 3:30 am ang end of curfew during those days (Simbang Gabi) and no curfew on December 24 evening,” said the Bishop during an interview with Radio Veritas.

Most Rev. Broderick S. Pabillo, Apostolic Administrator of Manila | File Photo of RCAM-AOC


This statement of Bishop Pabillo came after the plea of Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno" Domagoso, Mayor of Manila, regarding the Church’s guidelines for Simbang Gabi last October 14, 2020, on a live video on the city's official Facebook page.

According to the mayor, the city government of Manila is willing to coordinate with the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines to ensure the safety of the faithful from the risk caused by the COVID-19 pand3mic during the observance of Simbang Gabi.

Currently, the implemented curfew hours in Metro Manila are from 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM wherein 5 cities, in particular, Manila, Makati, Pasay, Mandaluyong, and San Juan, are within the domain of the Archdiocese.

Simbang Gabi (Evening Mass) and Misa de Gallo (Dawn Mass) are nine-day novena masses in preparation for the Nativity of Jesus which is celebrated on December 25. It starts on December 16 and ends on Christmas Eve, December 24.

The Online Livestreaming of the Holy Masses is continuously being held to compliment public celebration of Holy Mass in the churches in Metro Manila as there are still restrictions being implemented for minors and seniors as part of the quarantine. (Fatima Llanza/RCAM-AOC) 


Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples has returned to Rome after his recent visit to the Philippines.

Fr. Gregory Gaston, rector of Pontifical College of the Philippines (Pontificio Collegio Filipino) in Rome said that Cardinal Tagle is currently working from home as he has started his quarantine after travel as part of the health protocol. Upon arrival in Rome, he was again tested for Covid 19 and yielded negative with the virus.

“The following day he had his swab test at the Vatican, and today (Tuesday in Rome) the results came out, negative for Covid. Earlier, two days before leaving the Philippines, he also tested negative for Covid. He will still maintain self-isolation for some days, working from home at the Pontificio Collegio Filippino,” according to a message sent by Fr. Gaston to Radio Veritas.

His Eminence Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples | File Photo of RCAM-AOC


Cardinal Tagle, who is also the former Archbishop of Manila underwent swab testing a few days before he left for Rome as prerequisite for international travel. After he had the test at the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) in Mandaluyong, which was negative with the virus, he was requested to bless the new COVID-19 testing facility and thanked the people of Red Cross for their efforts as well as of all the frontliners who continuously serve the people despite the danger of the virus.

In September, upon the Cardinal's arrival in the Philippines, he was tested positive for COVID-19. He recovered from the illness after he was placed in quarantine for 14 days. He was in the country for a short visit to his parents in Imus, Cavite.

While in the Philippines, Cardinal Tagle who is also the president of Caritas Internationalis and Catholic Biblical Federation was the keynote speaker during the 2020 Online Catholic Education Association of the Philippines (CEAP) Congress on September 25, 2020. He also celebrated Mass at the Manila Cathedral on October 4, 2020, feast of St. Francis of Assisi and at the Our Lady of the Pillar Parish in Imus, Cavite on October 10, 2020. (Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC) 


The Catholic Church celebrates the Month of the Holy Rosary every October to honor and thank the Blessed Mother for her maternal care to all the faithful.

On October 7, 2020, in the Vatican City during his first general audience this October, the month dedicated for the Holy Rosary, Pope Francis has urged the Catholic to pray the Marian prayer especially amid the “looming threats to the world”, such as the pandemic according to the Vatican News post.

“Even today, in this time of the pandemic, it is necessary to hold the rosary in our hands and pray for us, our loved ones and all people,” he said.

Image of Nuestra Señora del Santisimo Rosario de Sampaloc de Unibersidad de Santo Tomas | Photo by Earl Jerald Alpay/SOCOM-Our Lady of Loreto Parish

 

Also to celebrate the feast of Mary, Most Rev. Honesto Ongtioco, Bishop of the Diocese of Cubao presided over the celebration of the Holy Eucharist for the Feast of the Holy Rosary (Santissimo Rosario La Naval de Manila) at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Sto. Domingo Church last October 11, 2020.

In his reflection during the homily, Bishop Ongtioco emphasized the role of the Blessed Mother during this time of the pandemic. Mary, according to him serves as a model of hope, healing and unity. He told the faithful to imitate the virtues of Mary in order to receive God’s blessings and be able to share it with others.

 “Dito nakikita natin ang ating Mahal na Ina bilang modelo kung paano tayo tumtugon makiisa sa plano ng Diyos at ang bunga nito hindi lamang ikaw ang pagpapalain ng Diyos,” Bishop Ongtioco said.

During this time of quarantine because of COVID-19, the Bishop reminded the faithful to strengthen their faith through their devotion to the Blessed Mother. May this devotion according to him, bring inspiration to their fellow faithful.

 “Ang inyong debosyon ay magbunga sana ng maraming biyaya at ma-inspire din ang maraming tao sa inyo…‘Di ba sabi ng mga kabataan sana all? Sana all ng mga tao matibay ang debosyon, pananalig kay Maria,’” said the Bishop.

The Feast of La Naval de Manila is celebrated every second week of October. The image is the very first image of the Virgin Mary in the Philippines. Its canonical coronation was in 1907.

In Imus, Cavite, Most Rev. Reynaldo Evangelista, Bishop of Imus presided over the celebration of the Holy Eucharist for the Feast of Blessed Virgin of Del Pilar at Our Lady of the Pillar Cathedral Parish also known as Imus Cathedral on October 13.

In his homily, Bishop Evangelista who is also Chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines - Permanent Committee on Public Affairs (CBCP-PCPA) reflected the obedience of Mary to the plan of the Lord for her.

According to him, the relationship between God and mankind was strengthened and restored because Mary accepted the plan of the Lord to be the mother of the savior named Jesus Christ who redeemed the people from their sin thus became the new people of God.

“Sa pamamagitan ng Birheng Maria, Birheng del Pilar, naibalik ang ugnayan ng tao sa Diyos. Sa isinilang n’yang tagapagligtas, tayo’y naging bagong bayan ng Diyos,” Bishop Evangelista told Radio Veritas.

The Bishop also encouraged the faithful to care, help and love one another especially during this time of crisis.

“Inaasahan ng Diyos na humirang sa atin, tumawag sa atin para maging bagong bayan Niya na tayo’y mabuhay sa bukluran, mamuhay tayo sa pagmamahalan, pagmamalasakitan. That we live in communion with one another,” said the Bishop.

The feast of "Nana Pilar", as how Cavitenos call Mary, Our Lady of the Pillar with endearment is celebrated every 12th of October and is the patron saint of the Diocese of Imus and the entire province of Cavite.

Its Canonical Coronation was on December 3, 2012, presided by Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, former Bishop of Imus and now Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of People in the Vatican. (Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC) 

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