As I ran down a dirt road in the village of Nandarola, Nicaragua, I could hear the bus approaching behind me, its air horn tauntingly blowing. With four-year-old Miguel on my shoulders, the two of us were racing the bus back to his small house. It was the last day of my visit to this remote community. It was a poignant moment, waving goodbye to the mothers and children — Miguel included — as we left, and one of many fulfilling and joyful experiences I had in Nicaragua.
Lent is a season which seems to always start strong in our hearts, and then gradually falls apart throughout our time of suffering alongside Jesus. We are now starting our journey. We already binged on pancakes a few days ago and a good few of us decided to give up either candy, chocolate, television or cellphones. (I’ll pray for you guys, don’t worry.)
The spring of 1633 was a time of controversy in the Catholic Church. The Inquisition had decided to bring a Florentine scientist named Galileo Galilei to trial for authoring a book that declared the heliocentric model of the universe as unequivocally correct, which contradicted the Church’s teachings at the time.
It was in my final year of religion class where I learned about Jesus’ sermon on the mount. The sermon, which begins in Matthew 5, is a good guide for self-reflection. What resonated with me the most from the sermon starts on Matthew 6:19 with Jesus’ lessons on treasure.
I can fondly recall as a young boy the excitement that I, and many of my friends, felt as we approached Grade 4. The time had finally come when we were considered mature enough to be altar servers at our parish, St. Anthony of Padua.