Thursday, July 30, 2009

Everybody Claims to Have the Truth

What a perplexing problem indeed! But there's a solution to that. Not to believe just anybody but you must seek for proofs and authority in those who claim to know or say the truth. Especially, that such lives are attuned to goodness, truth and love. Not just artificial words.

No wonder it's important to follow Jesus' words, after all, He is God and gave the proofs of divinity, not just in words but in deeds that only God could do. His miracles--curing the sick, raising the dead, healing the blind, the deaf and paralytics are motives of credibility. Plus His Resurrection from the dead, to top it all. What precisely did He say which may help us in our present quandary of the quest for truth, since everyone claims to be in the truth? Jesus tells this to us in Mt. 7:7 and He can't be wrong.

"Ask and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him" (Mt. 7:7). Isn't it even an expression of common sense: "research will find a way." Everything, of course, depends on being true to oneself. Not diverting from one's true aim.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


In Jn. 8:34 Jesus talks about some form of slavery that eventually would affect man's eternal fate. And this, after all, is what matters. As they say, in Philosophy, finis est super omnia (the attainment of the goal is above all most important). So Jesus states "everyone who commits sin is a slave." Since that is what conditions our eternal destiny, it must then be most important.

Study past and present history, look at our world today or in past ages, see how the havoc of sin has cost us so much misery and tragedy. How? There is pride, disobedient and insubordinate. Beginning with the rebel angels who were plunged into hell of everlasting fire and unhappiness (cf. Rev. 12:7-12). Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn. 14:6), hence the way to freedom from slavery is listening to His words and living according to His ways of truth and love.

In the Bible you can see how this slavery works. You can be a slave to your own pride, refusing to listen to God's inspirations and the legitimate authorities placed above you. "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall (Prov. 16:18). Even St. John of the Cross, the Carmelite mystic said: "God desires the least degree of obedience and submissiveness more than all those services you think of rendering him."

You can be enslaved to power and material things. Jesus had said: "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven" (see Mt. 19:23). How many acts of violence have been perpetrated for power and greed. Of course, when the apostles were disturbed by such statements of Jesus, they reacted saying "Who then can be saved?" Jesus must have looked at them with pity, saying: "For man this is impossible, but for God all things are possible" (see same paragraph above). Sexual excesses and sins of the flesh, as seen through media in our day, can also make people enslaved or addicted. The Church presents to us prayer and the sacraments as means of conversion through God's grace and mercy.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Truth Shall Set You Free

Why the anti-life groups, some legislators, and the population control sectors are campaigning so much for birth control vis contraceptives, most of which are abortifacients (i.e. destructive of the human fetus) and abortion is not just for the money involved but also to promote the hedonistic way of life, that is, one that is intent mostly for the pleasures of sex without considering humane and moral responsibilities. What’s happening to those societies where there are no more children and the gray-haired are the ones multiplying, i.e. the old people? Where is that going to end, if not towards self-destruction or extinction just because they just because they just want to have the greed for life to enjoy, without thinking of the younger and future generations. Open your eyes to what’s happening around.

The truth is that life has to be respected from the womb and that God’s punishment is waiting for those who violate His laws and have no respect for life. Abortion is classified by the Church as one of the sins crying to heaven for vengeance and eternal punishment. So even in the case of the matter of sex the Church urges prayerfulness and self-control versus a society that gives free rein to licentiousness, pornography and immorality under the guise of false freedom. You can always build a great future if you consider how the young can be taught high ideals, their hearts trained to love God and their neighbor and their hands disciplined to work. After all, education in mind and body is the equalizer among humans.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mediatrix Mystery

The standing tradition of the Catholic Church which we may find in the Holy Rosary litany shows that this aspect of Mary's intercessory role as channel of all graces coming from God has already withstood the test of time. There are several Churches with the title of Mary Mediatrix as patroness. She has titles such as Immaculate Conception or Queen conceived without original sin, Mother of divine grace, Holy Mother of God, Mother of the Church, Virgin most powerful, Virgin most merciful, Ark of the Covenant, Gate of Heaven, Refuge of sinners, Comforter of the afflicted, Help of Christians, Queen of Apostles, Queen of Prophets, Queen of Martyrs, Queen of all Saints, etc. This is not an impossibility because all we desire to say is that being the Mother of God she merited these other titles. God chose her from all eternity to be the Mother of His Beloved Son Our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of grace. God is the source, she is the channel, she the humble maid of Nazareth. Jesus, the Son of God and Second Person of the One Triune God, in obedience to God the Father, deigned to become man by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She, the Sorrowful Mother, accompanied the Redeemer at the very foot of the cross. The prayer of the Angelus runs thus: Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ, our Lord. Amen.

At the foot of the Cross Mary was given to us as our mother. Such is the very Catholic tradition has understood the episode at the cross: "Near the cross of Jesus there stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene. Seeing his mother there with the disciple whom he loved, Jesus said to his mother, 'Woman, there is your son.' In turn he said to the disciple, 'There is your mother.' From that hour onward, the disciple took her into his care." (Jn. 19: 25-27).

Certainly we might have heard one common opinion or saying of the people that says:" The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world." This shows the distinction and dignity of motherhood. So God's word that can't lie nor be mistaken describes thus: "Mary then set out for a town in the Hills of Judah. She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby suddenly moved within her. Elizabeth was filled with holy spirit and, giving a loud cry, said, 'You are most blessed among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb! The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby within me suddenly moved for joy" (Lk. 1: 39-45). Thus many pray to Mary (Memorare of St Bernard): "O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petition but in your mercy hear and answer me. Amen."

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bombings and Kidnappings

We do not point accusing fingers at any culprit. But we know there is a God who knows and sees all things. And it's basic in God's law that asks for respect for life. In the fifth commandment is: "Thou shall not kill" (Ez. 20:13; Mt. 19:13). Even kidnappings violate the substance of the Law and the Prophets: "Do unto others what you want others do unto you" (Mt. 7:12).

What's the reason then for the above happenings? Maybe revenge or desperation. But it is not the right answer. The end does not justify the means You cannot right a wrong with another wrong.

Let's not forget. There is a God who sees and knows everything, even the secret intentions of the heart. The Son God who came to our world had said: "Never repay evil with evil but let everyone see that you are interested only in the highest ideals. Do all you can to live at peace with everyone. Never try to get revenge; leave that, my friends, to God's anger. As scripture says: Vengeance is mine -- I will pay them back, the Lord promises. But there is more: If your enemy is hungry, you should give him food, and if he is thirsty, let him drink. Thus you heap red-hot coals on his head.

Resist evil and conquer it with good (Rom. 12:17-21). Don't forget what God's word says truly, "He will punish man for any evil he does" (Deut. 32:35).

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Everlasting Question

That very question which Pontius Pilate asked Jesus: “What is truth?” (Jn. 18:37) is the everlasting question deep within the heart of every human person. How important that is, is exemplified by the common Chinese saying: “It is shameful to ask a question but it is more shameful not to ask a question.” Asking is like a search for an answer. The world today is messed up or confused for not seeking true answers. Students who don’t ask or look for answers tend to remain ignorant. How right was Jesus in saying: “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened for you. Everyone who asks always receives, everyone who seeks always finds, and to everyone who knocks, the door shall be opened” (Mt. 7:7).. God’s word can’t be mistaken nor tell a lie because God is a God of truth and love.

Many questions need answers but we must ask or look for them so as to solve the unpeace and confusion in our world. Questions such as: Must we be afraid? Is violence an answer to problems? Is revenge the answer? (see Rom: 12:18-21). Can you pay for the value of one human life? Is that the basis of the Law—“Do unto others what you want others do unto you” (Mt. 7:12)? Is the pornography, hedonism or sexual freedom truly an answer to man’s quest for happiness? Are the very last destinies of man either heaven or hell, depending on whether they keep God’s commandments of justice, truth and love? Are all men called to become saints? Are all religions the same? If not, which one provides the true way? Should we respect all religions as we respect every person created by God? Did Jesus die on the cross and rise from the dead 3 days after? What are the clear facts and signs, the proofs that are beyond question? If you truly ask, seek and knock at the door of truth in all sincerity, you will certainly find the answer. Jesus, the Son of God or God’s Second Person, can’t lie nor be mistaken when He says: Everyone who seeks always finds: (Mt. 7:7). Of course being sincere means being true to ourselves and our efforts in achieving the goal. Think deep within yourself why the Lord Jesus had said: “At this time the disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ So he called a little child to him and set the child in front of them. Then he said, ‘I tell you solemnly, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. And so, the one who makes himself as little as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven’” (Mt. 18:1-4; see also Mk. 10:15, Lk. 18:17). It is the humble whom Jesus took to himself. It is the humble that enter God’s kingdom. The proud had so many reasons for sticking to their pride. Where have all the proud people gone? When will they ever learn? That is a question we may ask ourselves. The proud think they know all the answers, the humble realize there is still so much to learn, so be open to listen.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Spirit of Ecumenism

In the gospels we see samples of our Lord’s attitude of love and faith in people of different groups and this could guide us towards brethren of other faiths, Christian or non-christian. We must not narrow ourselves since Jesus warned us: “I tell you that many will come from east and west to take their places with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob at the feast in the kingdom of heaven; but the subjects of the kingdom will be turned out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth” (Mt. 8:11).

“When Jesus entered Capernaum , an army captain approached him to ask his help, ‘Sir, my servant lies sick at home. He is paralyzed and suffers terribly.’ Jesus said to him ‘I will come and heal him.’ The captain answered ‘I am not worthy to have you under my roof. Just give an order and my boy will be healed. For I myself am a man under orders and I have soldiers under me. And if I say to one: Go, he goes, and if I say to another: Come, he comes, and to my servant: Do this, he does it. When Jesus heard this he was astonished and said to those who were following him, ‘I tell you, I have not found such faith in Israel . I say to you, many will come from east and west and sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob at the feast in the kingdom of Heaven; but those who expected the kingdom will be thrown out into the darkness; there they will cry and grind their teeth.’ Then Jesus said to the captain, ‘Go home now. What you believed will happen.’ And that very moment his servant was healed.” (Mt. 8:5-13)

“John said to him, ‘Master, we saw a man who drove out demons by calling upon your name, and we tried to stop him because he was not following us.’ Jesus answered, ‘Do not forbid him, for no one who performs a miracle in my name can soon after speak evil of me. For whoever is not against us is for us’” (Mk. 9:38-40).

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Truth of the Resurrection

We are not as privileged as St. Thomas the Apostle who, upon touching the nail marks and scars of Jesus, expressed his faith saying: “My Lord and my God.” But we are also blessed by the words of Jesus to Thomas the Apostle: “You believe because you can see me. Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe” (Jn. 20:21).

There are many things we believe in, not because we have seen them but because of the credibility of witnesses or the writers of history. For example, the existence one time of people who have already passed away, like our national heroes. You believe you were born even if you did not see your actual birth.

I still remember when, as a student of philosophy, I entertained some doubts concerning certain tenets of our Catholic faith. When I went to confession to a priest faculty in our University (UST), about that same topic, he answered me: Just consider all those thousands and millions who believe in Jesus Christ. You cannot say they are all out of their minds. So we may remember what was once said, “You can fool some of the people all the time; all the people, sometimes; but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” For those who believe no evidence is necessary, for those who do not, no evidence is enough. That may be the reason for Jesus’ commentary, how important it is to have that simplicity, humility and sincerity of a little child that takes things as they are without the complications posed by the skeptics or learned rationalists. “I tell you solemnly, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. And so, the one who makes himself as little as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 18:1-4). Surely this must be one important characteristic element since it conditions entrance or non-entrance to God’s kingdom. The Christian faith exerts no external force or pressure on its believers except the simple truth.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Assurance of Victory

Assurance of victory comes as a response to prayer. Jesus, who can’t lie nor be mistaken, had said this: “Everyone who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him” (Mt. 7:8).

That is the assurance the Divine Mercy devotion gives us, especially for the 3 o’clock prayer and the recitation of the chaplet of Divine Mercy. Talking about the chaplet which St. Faustina was praying on an occasion when the heat was so intense and the earth needed rain, she had been saying it without interruption for three hours, then the heavy rain came. She comments on this chaplet: “And the Lord let me know that everything can be obtained by means of this prayer” (paragraph 1128 of her book – Diary of Divine Mercy in my Soul). The Lord spoke to her about the 3 o’clock prayer. “At three o’clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the hour of great mercy for the whole world. I will allow you to enter into my mortal sorrow. In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion….” (paragraph 1320, with the same book, Diary of Divine Mercy in my Soul, by St. Maria Faustina Kowalska).

St. Alphonsus Liguori said that one of the biggest regrets people will have if they are punished in eternal Hell is why they did not ask or pray when the Lord had clearly said everyone who asks always receives (Mt. 7:8). Yes, I mean those who ask with faith, sincerity, perseverance, and humility.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Characteristic of the Saints

We should be interested in the distinguishing marks that are in holy people so we may emulate them. Of course, the clear words are those of Jesus. "If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me" (Lk. 9:23). Look into the lives of the saints and see those marks of the cross. That is, by the way, the derivation and etymology of the word 'patient'. It comes from the Latin origin "pati" which means to sufer. That is why, if love is the essence of Christianity, St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 13) describes love as "humble, patient and forgiving." That was how Jesus lived, and those who followed Him too bore the marks of suffering. That was what convinced the doubting apostle, St. Thomas.

"Thomas, the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, 'We have seen the Lord.' But he replied, 'Until I have seen in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.' Eight days later, the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. Despite the locked doors Jesus came in. He stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you.' Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here and see my hands; stretch out your hand and put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.' Thomas then said, 'You are my Lord and my god'. Jesus replied, 'You believe because you see me, don't yout? Happy are those who believe although they do not see.'" (Jn. 20:24-29) We too, in this 3rd millennium, we believe on the basis of the words of Jesus, the saintly people we meet in our lives, and the testimony of the living Church that carries the marks of the cross, the nails and scars offered for the love of God and the fellow men and women.