Important Notice from Fr. Luis Tolentino

Got this email recently…

Important Notice from the Fr. Luis A. Tolentino,
Rector of the Diocesan Shrine of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, UP-Los Baños:
To all who have receive requests or plea for financial assistance for my supposedly charity work with a humanitarian organization, please disregard or ignore such messages for I AM NOT A MEMBER OF ANY HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATION NOR AM I SOLICITING DONATIONS FOR CERTAIN CHARITY WORKS USING THE INTERNET OR SOCIAL MEDIA.
Please be strongly guided by this reminder.
Thank you and God bless.

Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church

Thank you!


A parishioner came to me after the Holy Mass. He gave me this book.


He said, “Fr., I noticed that you always have Church history as illustrations in your homilies. Please add this book to your library.”


Ganahan ko aning libroha.

Palm and Passion Sunday (A)

Palm and Passion Sunday


Palm Sunday / Passion Sunday (A)

Isaiah 50:4-7

Psalm: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Philippians 2:6-11


Matthew 26: 14-27,66


Welcome to the Palm and Passion Sunday!


Tandaan po ninyo, ang linggong ito ang isa sa mga may pinakamagandang second readings sa buong taon para sa akin. Ito ay galing sa book of St. Paul to the Philippians: at ang mensaheng ito ay produkto ng pagninilay ng first Christian communities. “Though he was in the form of God, Jesus did not deem equality with God something to be used for his own advantage.” (Philippians 2:6). Sa simula pa lamang, si Hesus ay talagang banal. Ngunit hindi tumigil si St. Paul doon. Sabi pa niya: “Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men. Thus, he humbled himself, by becoming obedient to death, death on the cross!” (Philippians 2:7)


Ang Dios na banal ay naging tao, upang ang tao ay maging banal.


This is a special time of the year that we stop to remember and bring back the memories leading to our redemption and salvation. Yes, we remember Jesus’ dying and rising, but let us also remember our own dying and rising with him.


Let us ponder upon two questions for today:


  1. Do I have true sorrow for my sins?


Akin bang nararamdaman ang taus-pusong pagsisisi sa aking mga kasalanan? Ngunit hindi lamang iyan – ang pagsisisi ay hindi lamang iyong makaramdam ng kalungkutan, pananangis at pagtanggap ng parusa sa mga kasalanang nagawa ngunit ang pagbabagong-isip.


Ang tunay na pagsisisi ay yaong may kasamang paggawa ng  mabuti (Luke 3:8). Samakatuwid, kung ako’y magdarasal, hihingi ng tawad sa Dios, ako ay tunay na nagsisisi kung ang aral ni Hesus ay akin ng isinasabuhay. It is impossible to change if the person cannot and will not change. Change will come if you change. Imposible ang tunay na pagsisisi kung walang bungang pagbabago sa ugali.


  1. Am I willing to carry my own cross?


May story ako na naalala ko pa mula sa aking auntie na aking guro noong high school. Sabi niya, one day, a man complained to Christ dahil masyadong mabigat ang krus na kanyang dala. Then dinala siya ni Hesus sa isang lugar na puno ng krus. sabi ni Hesus, pili ka ng krus mo dyan.


So, ibinaba nya yong kanyang krus at nagsimula siyang umikot. He saw a very small cross, binuhat niya, then sabi niya: ang gaan naman. So ibinaba niya at naghanap ulit. May nakita siyang malaking krus, binuhat niya, ngunit sabi – sobrang bigat naman!


So, hanap siya ng hanap ng krus na babagay sa kanya. Naikot niya ang buong lugar ngunit wala siyang mahanap na krus na sakto lamang sa kanya.


Then, all of a sudden, in a corner, may nakita isang krus, hindi masyadong Malaki, hindi rin masyadong maliit. He carried it, not so heavy, not too light. Kaya sabi niya kay Hesus, “yes, Jesus, ito na ang napili kong krus!”


Jesus laughed at him. Sabi ni Hesus, that’s the same cross you complained about!


Brothers and sisters, while we ponder on the sufferings of Christ, let us also be mindful to accept our own sufferings, knowing that God never gives us trials beyond our capacity. (1 Corinthians 10:13). His grace is always enough for us.


Have a meaningful and prayerful holy week po.


This is Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD. Witness to the Word.





Fifth Sunday of Lent (A)

Fifth Sunday of Lent (A)

Fifth Sunday of Lent (A)

Exodus 37:12-14

Psalm 130: With the Lord, there is mercy and fullness of redemption

Romans 8:8-11

John 11:1-45



Welcome to the fifth Sunday of Lent!


This Sunday completes the trilogy na nagsimula noong third Sunday. On the third Sunday of Advent, the desire for the living water; on the fourth Sunday, the desire to be healed of spiritual blindness; and this Sunday – the desire to share in the eternal life with the Risen Lord.


The Gospel for today is the Raising of Lazarus Back to Life. Dedbol na po si Lazarus noong dumating si Hesus. Ayaw nang pabuksan ni Marta ang kanyang libingan sapagkat for sure, maantsot na.Ngunit ng si Hesus ay sumigaw, “Lazarus, come out!” Lumabas nga si Lazarus. Siya ay buhay!


Today, may I invite you that we reflect on two things:


  1. Our hope of resurrection.


The Jews believed that the soul of a dead person remains with the body for three days. Then after three days, the soul departs from the body and will never return again. It is at this point that the corruption of the human body will set in.


Eh si Hesus dumating on the fourth day. Kaya, sabi ni Martha, “But Lord, by this time, there is a bad odor, for he has been there for four days.” (John 11:39) In short, Lord, hopeless  na yan eh, umalis na ang kaluluwa niyan eh, di mo na maibabalik yan. Wala na eh.


But Jesus made the impossible. Jesus said in a loud voice, “Lazarus come out. The dead man came out.” (John 11:44)


This is a challenge for us never to give up hope even in hopeless situations as indiviiduals, as a church or as a nation. God will always make a way.


The raising of Lazarus back to life is already a symbolic narrative of Jesus’ victory over death and an anticipation of his resurrection. Ang malaking milagro ito assures us that we shall also be raised into eternal life after our battle with sin and death in the world.



  1. Our hope of being renewed.


The cave or the tomb kung saan nakahimlay si Lazarus is a place of darkness. When called out by Christ, Lazarus gropes his way out of the dark.


Ang muling pagkabuhay is not only something that we shall benefit sa dako pa roon. We can live it out every day by being hopeful. Hope will make a world of difference to those who have it.


Sabi ng isang kaibigan sa akin: You smoke, you die; you do not smoke, you die. You pray you die, you do not pray – you die. It is still the same. Mamamatay ka pa rin. So ano itong he who believes in Christ, will never die. Fr, Yong lolo ko, laging nagsisimba – namatay pa rin.


I told him, the difference is: when you believe and you have hope in your heart, you will endeavor to renew yourself everyday through the grace of God. Hindi ka latak! Hindi ka hopeless. Despite your darkness and many unbecoming behaviors, you too will never give up on yourself because God’s grace is always reliable.


Brothers and sisters, in hope we are saved. (Romans 8:24). With hope, our present, even if it is difficult, can be lived and accepted because we know our goal (eternal life) – and that is great enough to justify our effort for our journey.


The Psalm 130 for today reminds us: “With the Lord, there is mercy and fullness of redemption.”


This is Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD. Witness to the Word.




Third Sunday of Lent (A)

God desires that everybody will be saved and come to the knowledge of truth (1 Timothy 2:4).

Third Sunday of Lent (A)

Exodus 17:3-7

Psalm: If today, you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Romans 5:1-2, 5-8

John 4:5-42


Welcome to the third Sunday of Lent!


As we progress through our Lenten preparations, this Sunday is a reminder of God’s loving generosity, BIG TIME. Of all the things God can give, he gave His only Son, the living water that gives eternal life.


Our gospel for this Sunday is entitled Jesus and the Samaritan Woman – a story of: tragic sinner meets tender savior. While Jesus passed through a town of Samaria, he met the Samaritan woman at the well. When he talked to the woman, marami pong hindi nasunod si Hesus na mga protocol dito.


Una, mahigpit na magkalaban ang mga Jews at mga taga-Samaria; Second, kahit na ito ay isang “short-cut” na rota papuntang Judea to Galilee, ito ay iniiwasan ng mga Jews because this place is not considered to be part of the “holy land; Third, normally Jewish men would not talk to a woman in public.


Jesus broke the social customs of his time and after asking for water, he offered the woman the water of eternal life. At sabi ng babae, sir, give me this water, so that I may not thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” (John 4:15)


What are the reminders for us today?


  1. Salvation is all grace!


Kadalasan sa mga Jews kapag sila ay pupunta sa Galilee from Judea, they are willing to travel for 6 days instead of  3 days para lamang maiwasang daanan ang Samaria. Jews hated the Samarians because Samarians descended from Jews who had intermarried with Gentiles or pagans! But Jesus did not operate like that: he didn’t care about heritage, he didn’t care about the other people’s ill perception, he just wanted to save this poor woman.


God operates through grace. Samakatuwid hindi lamang ang mga mabubuti o matutuwid ang pwedeng bigyan ng kaligtasan. Kung tatanggapin mo ang Diyos sa iyong buhay, sasaiyo ang kaligtasang kanyang alay.


Sometimes we are too concerned with how we dress up, or how we look like, or how we have followed our religious duties, when after all, God only wants our willing hearts. Mahal ka niya, maging sino ka man.




  1. True satisfaction comes in godly life.


Noong sinabi ni Hesus sa kanya na “Whoever drinks the water I shall give shall never be thirsty again” – wow, this must be very appealing to the woman! All her life, naghahanap ang girlalu na ito ng makakasatisy sa kanya. She tried physical relationships-wa epek! Naka-anim na asawa na nga siya, wa- epek pa rin. Hindi pa rin naibigay ang kanyang hinahanap-hanap.


Her encounter with Christ changed her whole life. She became a witness, and kahit na hindi pwedeng tumestigo ang mga babae during her time, many people came to believe. And Jesus stayed in Samaria for 2 days.


Interestingly, when the apostles started preaching after the stoning of the first Christian martyr St. Stephen, it was Philip who went to Samaria and proclaimed Christ (Acts 8:5). The people there listened to the message, accompanied with supernatural signs. Many were converted.


Lent is the time for us to see our mistakes that keep us from coming to the living waters of a right relationship with God.


Brothers and sisters, hindi ikaw lamang ang mahal ng Diyos! If we think we deserve more than others because of our righteousness, then we don’t see as God does. God desires that everybody will be saved and come to the knowledge of truth (1 Timothy 2:4).


This is Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD. Witness to the Word.

Second Sunday of Lent (A)

This is a Promise!

Second Sunday of Lent (A)

Genesis 12:1-4a

Psalm: Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

2 Timothy 1:8b-10

Matthew 17:1-9


Welcome to the second Sunday of Lent!


Recently I watched the movie Logan. The movie was in 2029 when the mutant population was already disbanded, and Wolverine was left to take good care of Charles Xavier or Professor X. Wolverine lived a hidden life, siya ay naging simpleng taxi driver na lamang. But everything changed when a young girl named Laura, a mutant, came into his life. This girl had his DNA, and she also possessed powers like Wolverine. He needs to help the girl cross the border. I will not mention spoilers, but in this movie, you will a transformed Wolverine, a wolverine with a heart. The greatest movie about Wolverine is not about the mutant, but about the man Logan.


Today’s readings center on transformations. In the first reading, Abram was called by God to leave his homeland. Nabago ang kanyang buhay ng sinunod niya ang Diyos. Abram became Abraham, the Father of Faith.


In the second reading, sabi ni St. Paul, “We are called to a holy life, not according to our works, but according to the grace bestowed in Christ.” (2 Timothy 1:9)


At ang ebanghelyo ay tungkol sa Transfiguration of Jesus. Jesus took Peter James and John into a high mountain and he was transfigured before them.


What are the reminders for us today?


  1. We have our vocation.


Andito tayo sa mundo hindi lamang para magkaroon ng career. Tayo ay may bokasyon. Tinawag tayo ng Dios upang maging bahagi sa Gawain ng paglikha. You are here for a reason, that reason is not only that you become a professional but that you contribute to the holiness of the world.


Masasabi mo bang ikaw ay may positibong naiambag sa kabutihan ng lipunan?


Father, sasabihin ninyo, mabait naman ako. Wala akong ginagawang masama. Ngunit hindi lamang mabait na walang ginawang masama, kundi ang kailangan natin ngayon ay yaong mabait na may ginagawang mabuti.


Sabi sa movie na Logan, “A soldier who will not fight is useless.” Ang sundalong hindi nakikipaglaban ay walang silbi. In the same way, “A Christian who doesn’t serve is useless.” Ang Kristyanong walang ginagawang masama at wala ring ginagawang  mabuti ay walang silbi.


I have a beautiful classmate at devcom. She is organizing an outreach program for the indigenous people of Pampanga. She is doing it this season of Lent.

What good will you do this season of Lent?

What sacrifices will you make for the benefit of others?


We have a vocation.


  1. We go down.


During the Transfiguration, sabi ni Peter, Lord, we shall build three tents: one for you, one for Moses, one for Elijah. Sabi ba ni Jesus – go!


No, they went down the mountain. Because the living out of service is not in the mountain. Kailangang bumaba because the action is there in the lowland. They need to go back to reality. That is where the action is.


When we become knowledgeable, when we become leaders, when we achieve high status in the society – we go down. We serve.


As Christians, we cannot transform the world by mere prayers in our convents, in our chapels, in our churches. We go out, we move out, of our homes, of our comfort zones – to get in touch with the realities of the people in our families and communities.


We go down.


Brothers and sisters, in the second Sunday of lent, we are reminded that everybody has a vocation. What happened to Jesus in the mountain will also happen to us. But before that, like Jesus, we have to embrace first our realities, the realities of life, of suffering, of sacrifices, of joys, of pains. Then, if we share in the cross of Christ, we shall also share in his glory. That’s a promise!


This is Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD. Witness to the Word.





First Sunday of Lent (A)

Beware: Satan is the Father of Lies

Beware: Satan is the Father of Lies

First Sunday of Lent (A)

Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7

Psalm: Be merciful, o Lord, for we have sinned.

Romans 5:12-19

Matthew 4:1-11


Welcome to the first Sunday of Lent!


Tayo po ngayon ay nasa panahon na ng kwaresma. Opening salvo po natin ang Ash Wednesday (March 1) bilang pagpapahayag ng ating pagsisisi sa ating mga kasalanan at paghahanda sa ating mga sarili sa mga gagawin nating mga sakrispisyo. Ang kwaresma po ay 40 days before Easter. Sa taong ito, ang Easter Sunday ay April 16. Kung inyo pong bibilangin from March 1 to April 15, the day before Easter Sunday – mayroong 46 days! Mali yata ang sinasabi mong 40 days Father! Sumobra yata ng anim na araw Father! Hindi po yan sumobra bes, sapagkat hindi kabilang sa counting ang Sunday. This is because from the earliest days of the Church, Sunday is always a feast day, a day of celebration, kaya hindi siya kabilang sa counting. That makes it 40!


Today’s gospel reading points us to the three temptation of Christ in the desert. Pagnilayan po natin ang three temptations:


  • “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” (Matthew 4:3)


What is wrong with being hungry? It is but human to feel hunger? At first glance, the command of the devil seemed very, very trivial. Parang maliit na bagay lang, gutom eh. But we must remember that the perfection of Jesus comes in following the will of the Father. Ang patibong talaga dito ay sundin mo ang gusto ng demonyo. Mag-ingat sa mga trivial matters, mag-iingat sa maliliit na kasalanan. Dyan nag-uumpisa ang big-time na kasamaan.


  • “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down.” (Matthew 4:6)


What is wrong with throwing himself down? The devil quoted the psalm of trust that told of God’s protection of his people. However, Jesus also knew that His trust was perfect, and that He didn’t need to do anything heroic to prove it. The moment an individual puts God to the test, that person gives evidence that he or she doesn’t actually trust God in the first place.


I remember one instance, nakapasok ako sa isang warehouse ng isang parokyano. At doon sa pinakabulwagan ng kanilang warehouse ay nakita ko ang imahe ng Santo Niňo. Ok n asana ako doon ngunit nagulat ako sapagkat katabi ng Baby Jesus ang palakang naka-nganga at pusa pang gumagalaw-galaw. Sabi ng parokyano: “Father, kung di ibibigay ng Dios ang aking hinihinling, ako ay mayroong reserba.”


Do you think if you have your full trust in the Lord, you still need lucky charms? God is enough!




  • “All these I shall give to you, if you shall prostrate yourself and worship me.” (Matthew 4:9)


This is like saying: “Sambahin mo ako kahit one second lang – at ibibigay ko say o ang lahat-lahat in an instant.” Of course, alam natin, ito ay kasinungalingan lamang.


These temptations are very much relatable. Often, Satan whispers to us that we can be immoral, we can behave badly, and gawin lahat ng gusto natin sapagkat wala naman makakaalam di ba – ikaw lang at si Satanas. Hmmm. Mag-ingat, sapagkat si Satanas ang hari ng kasinungalingan. Kung sasabihin niya sa iyong….


atin-atin lang ito ha,

this is just between us,

secret lang natin ito ha,

you and me (!!!)


wag kang umasa. Ta-traydorin ka lang niya – ginawa niya yan kay Eba. Gagawin din niya sa yo yan.


The three temptations of Christ are meant to remind us that Jesus wholeheartedly followed His Father’s will. If we want to also wholeheartedly follow His Father’s will, the devil will also do, everything in his power, to prevent us.


In reality, many times we give in. But the Lenten message is that have the grace to say no as reflected by the Lenten connection to our baptism. Dati mayroong tayong order of penitents. Sila ang mga nangumpisal sa kanilang kasalanan and they were assigned to do penance to be done for a long period of time. Then by Easter Vigil, the order of penitents are reconciled to the Christian community. It was for them second baptism.


Brothers and sisters, may we see this Lenten season as our journey towards our own renewal of baptismal vows, which we shall observe on Easter Vigil. May our Lenten observance make us even closer to Jesus, not only in thoughts, but also in actions.



This is Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD – Witness to the Word!