Tuesday, 30 September 2014


MaBird left her four baby birds in the nest as she searched for food very early in the morning.  She looked for worms in the meadows, in the bushes and in the trees.  Four worms or insects would just be fine; instead, she was lucky, having caught six worms.  She ate one for herself as she needed to energize herself for the day.  Nearing the nest, she could hear the young ones crying out for food.

 When she landed, the birdies had wide-opened bills. She fed one worm each.  When they had consumed their share, they started to ask for the last one with MaBird.  It was not much of a problem for MaBird; she had divided the one worm into five pieces.

Fr Alfonso Dujali of St Joseph Catholic Church, Helensville, in one of his homilies shared his experience in Papua New Zealand when he was assigned in a remote island.  To spice up the calendar of activities, he proposed the holding of sports competition during a meeting among the locales. He said that the champion would get the highest cash prize, while the second and third placers get lower amounts of cash prizes. What happened next surprised him.

The participants in the meeting would not agree to the proposal on the prizes. He then asked why. The response was: the prizes should be equally divided. He then realized that the tradition of the people of the island was that whatever was brought to the community, everyone had an equal share.

In today’s world of materialism and competition, people tend to obtain more than they need and win at all cost. While these may have contributed to economic progress and innovations on one side, the downside is the increase in the gap between the haves and have-nots. I remember some time ago that farmers in a European country decided to dump their produce into the sea rather than give these away to people in the verge of starvation in Africa.

Humanity must unlearn some of practices of modern societies, and return to those that created communities where there was peace, harmony and equality. “Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.”  (Acts 4:32)

Tuesday, 23 September 2014


It was the night before the grand family party. Most of the dogs were at the front yard guarding the house against intruders.  One tiny dog named ‘Smalley”, though was relegated to the backyard, as he was deemed without much of a bark, without much of a bite.  No one dared enter the gates, as the guard dogs were alert. 

Unknown to them, a motley crew of thieves climbed their way up the fence behind the house deep in the night. ‘Smalley’ barked and attacked the intruders.  Threatened and kicked, ‘Smalley’ persisted. For a moment, the house occupants heard the little dog. But instead of going out to see what was happening, shouted, “Shut up!” “Smalley” could not do anything more, for even the guard dogs didn’t mind him at all. The thieves were able to steal many items from the house that the party had to be postponed.

New Zealand conducted elections for its Parliament on September 20. During the campaign period, the Conservative Party (CP) that stood for Christian principles and traditional family values, campaigned intensely, but was barely noticed as the bigger parties, National, Labour and Greens, took primetime media coverage. Two other parties - NZ First and Internet-Mana - indulged in attention-grabbing controversies to entice voters for their causes. 

Sadly, there were those who criticized the Conservative Party for trying to bring New Zealand back to the “dark ages”, as if, good morals and traditional values have become outdated and passé. CP obtained 4.1% of the overall party votes, .8% short to bring its candidates to Parliament.  Like “Smalley”, CP barked hard, but failed to gain the needed support to have its voice heard in the legislature. But its leader, Colin Craig, said that he isn’t giving up, and will be back in three years time. Surely not, as CP is now ranked as the fifth most important party in New Zealand.

“Smalley” and the Conservative Party are voices in the wilderness, much like that of John the Baptist. “A voice of one calling: "In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Isaiah 40:3) “Wilderness” in the modern world no longer applies to a place, but rather to the lifestyle of people.  For in the “wilderness” there is sinfulness that direct people from the highway to God to a desert of temptation, selfishness and immorality.

John persisted in his calling and according to one writer, “he was a "voice", but not a mere voice; nor was his ministry a mere voice of words, as the law was, but it was the sweet voice of the Gospel, proclaiming the coming of the Messiah; encouraging men to believe in him; calling them to evangelical repentance, and publishing remission of sins in the name of Christ, and pointing him out as the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world: this voice was "crying"; it was not a still small voice, it was a very loud one; John lifted up his voice like a trumpet; he delivered himself with great zeal and fervency; and it was "in the wilderness" where this voice was heard.”

In due time, the small voices in the likes of Colin Craig will become louder, and resonate through society. 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014


The cub named ‘Scout’ left the comfort of his shelter, curious of what was outside. Mama Lion was out searching for food, while Papa Lion was taking a nap. There was much to see and soon enough a giant python took notice of him. Afraid that Papa Lion would find out of his evil plan, the snake rolled a red apple in front of the cub. The innocent one played with the bait that was leading towards the snake’s den. A number of animals scampered away afraid of the snake’s wrath. There were others that called out the cub, but as the young lion failed to notice them, they went away as well.

A one-legged rabbit named ‘Wounded’ noticed the danger that faced ‘Scout’. He hopped towards the cub unmindful of his own safety. This angered the snake that he accidentally hit the apple hard that it rolled down in another direction as ‘Scout’ followed it.

A strong paw stopped the apple and when ‘Scout’ looked up, he leaped with joy – it was Mama Lion. Python had cornered ‘Wounded’ who could do nothing but pray. Before the snake could snap at him, the rabbit heard a loud roar that echoed through the forest. Papa Lion was advancing towards the snake that scampered away leaving ‘Wounded’ unharmed. Mama Lion and ‘Scout’ joined Papa Lion in thanking rabbit for his courage and heroism.

Over the weekend, a frantic mother was looking for her teenage son who left home when scolded about having a girlfriend at so young an age.   For 12 hours they searched for the boy, and even had the help of the police. They found him walking in the street, hungry and forlorn.  The entire family was overjoyed with the boy’s safe return.

In a Mass on November 7, 2013, Pope Francis in his homily following the reading on the parables of the lost sheep and coin, said “God is not a good loser, and this is why, in order not to lose, He goes out on his own, and He goes, He searches…He searches for all those who are far away from Him, like the shepherd who goes to search for the lost sheep.”

At times, we get lost, and seem not to find our way back. Be patient. God is sending out a search party to rescue you.

“I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.” (Ezekiel 34:16)

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Father, I Love You

Grandpa Pigeon, who had become frail, had gone out for the day. His usual routine was to fly by the local church and say a prayer; take a short flight to the lake, pick some items to feed the little ones and return home.  It was a beautiful routine.

Grandma Pigeon became worried, as Grandpa Pigeon had not returned as the sun was about to set. A search party led by Elderson Pigeon was formed. The volunteers went to the church. Grandpa Pigeon was not there. They went to the lake, and asked Kingfisher if he noticed Grandpa Pigeon that day, and he said ‘No’.  The group returned to the route, and noticed the resting tree.  They stopped and there found Grandpa Pigeon covered by leaves and without life.  He had taken a final rest from the world.

On August 30, 2014, Eugenio Billones Dinolan, 77 years old, went to St Joseph Catholic Church in Milford as he usually did. He then proceeded to buy some stuff at New World Supermarket and was expected back to the house before noon.  But he didn’t come home. Eugenio died while inside the public toilet near the supermarket.  His wife, children, in-laws, grandchildren, relatives and friends were devastated by his sudden death. Their consolation was the knowledge that he had prayed to God prior to his departure.

The passage of Eugenio reminded me of my father, Angel Libre, Jr. who died of cancer. I thought about him when I wrote, in time for “Father’s Day” in New Zealand, a song entitled “Father I Love You”, whose lyrics read:

When I was a child
You were a giant of a man
You righted our wrongs
You taught us to be
The best in what we do

You worked so hard
To bring food on the table
You partnered with mom
To raise us up
And seek us when we were lost

Father to you I owe
What I am
You never lost faith in me
When I lost faith in myself
My gratitude to you
Father, I love you

The man that I knew
Has turned old, has turned gray
You need not worry
I am here for you
For I now am a father too.

If your father is living, tell him “I love you”.  For those who have lost their righteous fathers, be confident  for God takes good care of them. “The righteous man perishes, and no one lays it to heart; devout men are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from calamity; he enters into peace; they rest in their beds who walk in their uprightness.”   (Isaiah 57:1-2)

Monday, 1 September 2014

Stones, Pebbles and Sand

It rained hard. The river was nearly swelling as water flowed towards the dam. The townspeople were asleep as it was 3 o’clock in the morning. The dam upstream was shaking with the relentless water pressure. It could not take it anymore, as a portion on its right side started to crack. At the mountain sat a giant rock still and without life. Just as the dam’s concrete surrendered to the onslaught of water, the Master awakened the rock that followed His command to protect the community. It rushed down instantaneously and dived into the water, thereby covering the fallen portion of the dam. But the water continued to penetrate in the uneven form of the rock.

The rock then shouted, “Stones, pebbles and sand, I cannot do this by myself. I need your help!”  The nearby stones, pebbles and sand came to life, and they sealed the areas where the water penetrated. The water was contained and eventually calmed down.  When morning came, the townsfolk saw a giant rock covering a huge hole in the dam. They thanked the Lord for placing ‘St Peter’s Rock’ that saved them from certain death.

The apostle Simon Peter was not a perfect man. He had a lot of shortcomings, yet he was chosen by Jesus to continue His ministry.  “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18) Like the rock that was flawed, St Peter (and his successors) could not alone pursue God’s mission without the help of other disciples and believers.

Many of us are the “stones, pebbles and sand” that are called upon to complete God’s plan on earth. We may not be as prominent as the Pope, but we are important to the Church.  Pope Francis acknowledged this at the very start of papacy when he said, “And now I would like to give the blessing, but first – first I ask a favour of you: before the Bishop blesses his people, I ask you to pray to the Lord that he will bless me: the prayer of the people asking the blessing for their Bishop. Let us make, in silence, this prayer: your prayer over me.”

Do not belittle yourself; you are precious to God.