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You cannot go back in time

“You cannot go back in time,” says Jurgen Moltmann, a German theologian, in his discourse on the hope of the Christian faith. “A new heaven and a new earth” is not a ‘return to Eden’ but something beyond what has been evident in history, beyond our current realities and possibilities, beyond what we can even imagine. The future with God which we call the Kingdom of God holds something truly unique and new.It’s my birthday today, and now more than ever, I know I cannot go back in time. And more importantly, I do not want to. Not because I love where I am and who I have become. I still find myself in places where I wish I were somewhere else and have moments when I wish I could be more patient, less outraged, friendlier, not so straightforward and, yes, healthier, with more muscle and less fat. 

I do not want to go back in time because I know I have a community of family and friends who will walk with me and cheer me on in the paths I choose to take. I have so many meaningful experiences that make me believe that there is good in the world and we can work for a better world, and we can only do it if we move forward. And, lastly, I am certain that there is so much more the world has to offer. 

Ten years ago, I did not know I would love teaching in a seminary called UTS. A year ago, I did not have a clue that I was going to have the opportunity to study in Korea. Two months ago, I had the surprise of my life when Norman and some very close family and friends gave me an unforgettable surprise party. (where I got to wear a flower crown!) A week ago, I didn’t even know I would meet Jurgen Moltmann this school year. In June, my daughter will finally graduate from the University of the Philippines. (Finally!) And I will fly home to my people…

We cannot go back in time. God promises us something unique and new in the tomorrows yet to come. And the best part of it is — we create, participate and act with God.

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Iniibig at Babalikan

Hindi kita iniibig dahil marami kang pangarap na tinupad

Hindi kita inaalala 

dahil lahat ng kahapon natin ay maligaya

Hindi kita iduduyan sa mga salita 

na di ko kayang panghawakan

Pero alam mo sana 

na kahit saan ako makarating, 

Ikaw pa rin ang babalikan
Ang mga pinakamasaya kong alaala 

ay iyong Ikaw ang kapiling

Pinakamaganda ang bukang-liwayway 

pati na rin ang pagdidilim

Ang kagandahang taglay mo 

kahit kailan ay walang kapantay

Ang iyong tag-ulan at tag-init

ay bahagi lamang ng iyong buhay
Pangarap ko na maranasan mo 

ang ganap at tunay na kalayaan

Na ang kabutihan at kagandahan mo 

ay hindi na inaangkin at tinatapakan

Dahil duyan ka ng mga bayani 

at kandungan ng aking mga ninuno

Babalik ako sa iyong piling, 

mahal na bayan ko.

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Lauren

I call her the braver one

For jumping into the water as a child even before she could swim

For leaving home and creating one at such a young age alone and on her own

For taking paths and going to places I would not dare and have never been

For putting on a brave face and choosing her battles even when she shivers within
I call her the gifted one

For the dances she executes with so much passion

For the ways she touches peoples both young and old, both meek and strong

For the songs she writes with words and music about loving, laughing and life

For the way she creates who she wants the world to see because she knows she has her own light.
I call her the compassionate one

For the many ways she has offered herself to those who cannot give back anything in return

For taking time to nurture and teach little children so that they will grow and learn

For giving space for others and inviting her friends to stay in our home

For crying out for the Lumad and the poor and making their suffering and struggles known
I call her the beautiful one

For after all she can only take after her mother

For she has courage and wisdom, and the charisma of her father

For she is the daughter of our ancestors who dreamed she would be born to this earth

For she is touched by the Goddess who has given her passion and mirth.

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Today is International Women’s Day. A time to celebrate triumph and our commitment to struggle together. 

A day to commemorate how women have raised each other up and how we keep on rising for ourselves and for each other. 

A moment to affirm our sisters who have paved the way so we can walk with more dignity and to empower those who come after us. 

For our lives are our own lives and yet they are woven into fabric of humanity.

When one of us is abused and violated, no one among us can ever be truly safe.

When a mother is impoverished, the children of our nation will be hungry and weak.

When a girl is denied education and married at a young age, she is cursed and females that are birthed from her womb will suffer the same fate.

When a woman is silenced and is denied a space she has claimed, we will all be in the margins and voiceless, and will not be counted and even put to shame.

And so we must hold each other up and nurture each other’s soul

We must come together in circles and share our wisdom so we may all grow.

We must be formidable, relentless, responsive and powerful.

We must rise up again and again for it is in our liberation that the world can be made whole.

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Kapayaan

Ang kapayapaan ay di lamang tigil putukan at kawalan ng engkwentro ng NPA at militarAng kapayapaan ay di lamang pagpapalaya ng mga bilangong pulitikal

Ang kapayapaan ay di lamang usapin ng mga NDF at mga kintawan ng gobyerno

Ang kapayapaan ay para sa akin, sa iyo, at para sa ikabubuti ng bawat Pilipino 
Walang kapayapaan kung ang komunidad ng Lumad ay pinamumugaran ng militar

Walang kapayapaan kung ang manggagawa ay walang asenso sa gitna ng pagtatrabaho araw araw

Walang kapayapaan kung ang mga kabataan ay hindi makapasok o makatapos man lang ng elementarya

Walang kapayapaan kung iniiwan ng mga magulang ang mga anak upang magtrabaho sa malalayong bansa
Walang kapayapaan kung ang lupa 

ng mga magsasaka ay inaagaw ng walang pakundangan

Walang kapayapaan kung walang matirhan ang mga pamilya at natutulog sa lansangan

Walang kapayapaan kung ang may parusa lang ay ang mahihirap sa kanilang kasalanan

Habang ang mga buwayang nagnanakaw sa kaban ng bayan ay tinatawag pa ring ‘congressman.’
Ang kapayapaan ay masusukat sa kalayaan at kakanyahan lalo na ng mga katutubo sa kabundukan

Ang kapayapaan ay nararanasan kung may trabaho na angkop sa kakayanan ang bawat mamamayan.

Ang kapayapaan ay tutoo sa mga anak ng bayan kung ang kanilang edukasyon ay pinapahalagahan

Ang kapayapaan ay ganap kung ang mga pamilya ay samasama at ang natutugunan ang kanilang pangangailangan
Ang kapayapaan ay posible lamang kung ang mga magsasaka ay may lupa at may ani na masagana

Ang kapayapaan ay mararanasan lamang kung may malinis na tubig, pagkain, at bahay ang bawat pamilya

Ang kapayapaan ay posible lamang kung may pagkakapantay-pantay sa pagpapatupad ng batas

Ang kapayapaan ay ipinaglalaban dahil 

hindi ito matutupad habang ang mayaman ay hinahayaang gumamit ng dahas
Ang kapayapaan ay handog natin sa ating mga anak at ating kapwa

Ang kapayapaan ay biyaya para sa gobyerno at sa mamamayang pinagsisilbihan niya
#PeaceTalksItuloy

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The Ordinary and In-Between Moments

Cherishing the ordinary, bearing tediousness, and nurturing simplicity are essential to find peace and fulfillment. Life, experiences, and people will not always, and will not often, be amazing, unforgettable and meaningful. But that does not make the giftedness of life any less. Like the seasons of life, there will be darkness and cold, warmth and light, fertility and barrenness, birth and death.
The waiting, the in-between moments, the seeming lack of direction or meaning, the gray and dark times are our crossroads. There is a space to be still, silent and uncertain. It is in these moments that we listen to our heart, our inner voice, the wisdom of generations that raised and nurtured us, the pain of others and possibilities before us. There is no one else who knows us as well as we know ourselves: our pains, hopes, dreams, our weaknesses and strengths, our commitments. It is in these moments of hunger, grief, displeasure, questioning, vulnerability and emptiness that we deepen our understanding of ourselves and humanity.

But like the sunrise after a seemingly endless night, the budding of flowers and bearing of fruit after what looked like dying, the harvest after the long wait, life will burst forth. And then our learnings, triumphs and celebrations have meaning. They are not thoughtless, fleeting and empty joys. Rather, they are felt in the depths of our souls.

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Ang Kapayapaan ni Kristo 

Lumipas na ang Pasko ngunit di pa rin payapa ang mundo         Ang dalang pag-asa sa kapanganakan ni Kristo ay di pa rin tutoo sa napakaraming tao

May digmaan pa rin sa Syria. Inaagaw pa rin lupa sa Palestina.
Dinadahas pa rin ang magsasaka at pinagdadamutan ng mga panginoong may lupa
Tinatamaan pa din ng ligaw na bala ang mga inosenteng walang kinalaman sa droga 

Pinapalayas pa rin sa lupang sinilangan ang mga komunidad sa Mindanao at Patungan

Lumipas na naman ang Pasko at marami tayong inihanda at tinanggap na regalo.                                                                                 Pero ang tunay na kailangan ng sangkatauhan ay hustisya at kabuuan na bunga ng tunay na kapayapaan

Kapayapaan na hindi lamang katahimikan.                                  Kundi kapanatagan ng loob dahil wala nang kinatatakutan

Kapayapaan hindi dahil maawain ang mayayaman.                         Kundi dahil wala nang mahirap at wala nang nilalamangan

Kapayapaan hindi dahil may tigil putukan at wala nang digmaan.      Kungdi dahil ang pagbabago ay ganap at magpapaunlad sa bawat mamamayan

Ang kahulugan ng pagkakatawang tao ng Diyos sa katauhan ni Kristo ay isang pakikibahagi ng walang pagdadamot at pagkiling sa dumaranas ng paghihirap sa mundo

Hindi ito pansariling katahimikan at hindi ito personal na kabanalan. Ang kapayapaan ni Kristo ay kapayapaan sa buong mundo at lahat ng mga bayan.

Artwork by Joey Velasco