Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Aftermath of the Storm

The September 26-27, 2009 tragedy of the storm in Manila and vicinity where more than 200 lives were lost is an awakening salvo for us. Time to have recourse to God and heed His laws. Money cannot pay for the value of a human life.

Also we have to do what we can on our part. After all we can learn from past mistakes. First of all, the infrastructure has to be investigated and evaluated. There's something wrong when flood waters reach the second floor of houses or the rooftop of cars and bungalows. Where has the drainage been blocked or clogged up? For the sake of the lives of our people, let's forget selfish interests and quarrels and concentrate on creating, not just a decorative infrastructure, but one that really protects the lives of our people in any possible eventualities of catastrophe, storm or floods. We must think two steps ahead for the good of man. And consider and evaluate too how environmental devastations (whether by mining or logging) may have had a part in this catastrophe.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

God is a God of Truth and Love

All the troubles and confusions of our day stem from man’s diverting from the ways of the Lord, which are the ways of truth and love. And that perennial problem is there when our first parents were deceived by the devil and were expelled from Paradise . The tactic of the devil, who is a liar and a murderer (Jn. 8:44) is always to present evil under the guise of good. In the first pages of the Bible, that is in chapter 3 of Genesis, is the narration of man’s fall. We have to watch out for those deceptive tactics, especially by aligning ourselves to the truth, that is by being true to God, to ourselves (don’t pretend to be what you are not) and to our neighbor. Even in language, be truthful. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Since a final arbiter is God’s truthful word, listen to the Almighty as He tells us to be sincere: “You will find me, yes, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13).

Do Not Vote For ....?

What's the sentiment of the people? Are we to vote for RH Bill supporters? No! Why? The position of the Church as outlined in Humanae Vitae Encyclical of Pope Paul VI (1968) expresses itself against abortion and contraceptives as being against life and promoting the Culture of Death. Just open your eyes and see the graying of many nations (more older people especially in the more materially advanced nations and less young people). That's the phenomenon. And there are more and more abortions and most contraceptives are abortifacients, that is, deleterious to the human fetus. Where they practice abortions, divorce statistics tend to rise. So don't be blind, check the facts sincerely, seek the truth.

It's not worth voting for such types of legislators (Senators or Congress people or leaders of our country) who only care for money, not the rights of the people, of which the first is: human life. Did not Jesus say: What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world but destroys himself (life and soul) in the process? (Mt. 16:26). Willful murder (including abortion) is one of the four sins crying to heaven for vengeance ( the other three are sodomy or unnatural sex, oppression of the poor and defrauding laborers of their wages).

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Priority to Divine Mercy

The popularity of the Divine Mercy devotion is due to the fact of man’s sinfulness and our urgent need of obtaining God’s merciful action. This devotion has so much been strengthened by the writings of St. Faustina as compiled in her book: The Diary of Divine Mercy in my Soul.

The fact, we have to admit, is that first of all we are all sinners in need of God’s Mercy. It’s only the proud who may dare to say “I have no sin.” Yet we know from looking all around our world the evidence of man’s weakness, sinfulness and corruption. It’s only a hypocrite who pretends to be without fault or weakness.

Thus in paragraph 1541 of St. Faustina’s book we read the words of Jesus to her: “My daughter, encourage souls to say the chaplet which I have given to you. It pleases Me to grant everything they ask of Me by saying the chaplet. When hardened sinners say it, I will fill their souls with peace, and the hour of their death will be a happy one. Write this for the benefit of distressed souls: When a soul sees and realizes the gravity of its sins, when the whole abyss of the misery into which it immersed itself is displayed before its eyes, let it not despair, but with trust let it throw itself into the arms of My mercy, as a child into the arms of its beloved mother. These souls have a right of priority to My compassionate Heart, they have first access to My mercy.

Tell them that no soul that has called upon My mercy has been disappointed or put to shame. I delight particularly in a soul which has placed its trust in My goodness. Write that when they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the merciful Savior.”

Monday, September 21, 2009

May They Be One Bible

Is this a different Bible from the rest? Certainly not. This has a foreword by Most Rev. Arturo M. Bastes, SVD, DD, presently Bishop of Sorsogon and also the Chairman of the Episcopal Commission for the Biblical Apostolate (ECBA). Why then has it a message of unity to our world? It is because God's message or words are messages communicating love and peace. An ancient Latin dictum says this: Ideae regunt mundum (translated: it is ideas that rule the world).

The ideas of God in the Bible, especially of His beloved Son Jesus Christ are words of love, humility and goodness. In fact, in 1 Cor. 13:1-13, we cn find a summary of what defines love. Is there a stronger unifying factor than love? The Bible answers man's endless search for understanding, unity and peace. For this one needs to be a humble believer in love and in Him who is love in person, Jesus Christ.

"If I could speak all the tongues of men and of angels, but were given no love, I would only be sounding brass or clanging cymbals. If I had prophecy, knowing secret things with all kinds of knowledge, and faith great enough to remove mountains, but had no love, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I had to the poor, and even gave up my own body, but only to receive praise and not through love, it would be of no value to me. Love is patient, kind, without envy. It is not boastful or arrogant. It is not ill-mannered nor does it seek its own interest. Love withstands anger and forgets offenses. It does not take delight in wrong, but rejoices with the truth. Love excuses everything, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

"Love will never end. Prophecies may cease, tongues be silent and knowledge disappear. For knowledge grasps the truth imperfectly and prophecy as well. And when what is perfect comes, everything imperfect will pass away. When I was a child I thought and reasoned like a child, but when I grew up, I gave up childish ways. LIkewise, at present, we see dimly as in a faulty mirror, but then we shall see face to face. Now, we know in part, but then I will know Him as He knows me. Now we have faith, hope and love, these three, but the greatest of these is love" (1 Cor. 13:1-13).

Sunday, September 20, 2009

RH Bill Controversies

(analysis of the situation)

It's not exactly because of money, though surely it's part to blame as "love for money is the root of all evils" (1 Tim. 6:10). The Church stands for life and the unity and stability of the family. Legislators argue saying we are over-populated. And we know population control agencies are offering huge amounts for their own materialistic agenda.

Are we really overpopulated when there are lots of empty spaces in the world for people to live in? Is pleasure more valuable than life since population control agents reproduce the contraceptives that facilitate sexual exchanges without the risk of conception of new life with its responsible consequences?

When we consider that life is the first right of man, together with liberty and property, let's ask the legislators who want to approve the RH Bill: "Are you sure the RH Bill will not violate the right to life and the freedom of conscience to seek the truth?

Before you do that, think it over and be sure. After all, an immoral law has no force at all and merits no following if indeed it violates God's laws. It would look funny when legislators do not exactly understand what they are talking about. That is the point we are to check. Is the RH bill violating a human right? That's all, think it over and be sure. Even the lure of money is of no avail when a basic right is violated.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Enigma of Obedience

When St. Augustine in his treatise "De Civitate Dei" (the City of God) talks about the life of pious obedience as "the mother and guardian of all virtue" (14.2), we are then not surprised why the Church and religious orders have given it prime importance. For the religious clergy and congregations, it is the main of the 3 vows or public promises. The one public avowal of the Diocesan or secular clergy at the time of holy Ordination is obedience to their Bishop, though poverty and chastity are presupposed in pledges made through other contracts. In the Roman Catholic Church priests stay single for life.

At the momentous and decisive event of our salvation by the passion and death of Jesus on the cross, He prayed in a solemn tone of obedience to His Heavenly Father: "Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, let your will be done, not mine" (Lk. 22:42). So He became the victor by the obedience of the cross. He also demonstrates how we may solve hopeless situations by a life of prayer and union with God.

Let's go back to history from the very beginnings: the pride of Lucifer or Satan with his angels who refused obedience and was cast to hell (cf. Rev. 12:7). The story of our first parents Adam and Even who were driven out of Paradise because they followed the devil's enticements to disobey God (pls. refer to Gen. 3:1-24). How many vocations have been lost through disobedience! Learn from history. You regret too late when you reach the point of no return. No wonder the book of Proverbs has this: Vir obediens loquetur victoriam, "the obedient man speaks victory" (Prov. 21:28). The word obedient is derived from the Latin ob and audire which means "to listen to". Such is the example of Our Blessed Mother Mary who always listened to and pondered on God's words. "Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart" (Lk. 2:19). Of course, it is not simply listening but likewise fulfilling God's will, which naturally also implies obeying and respecting legitimate authority which is also willed by God for the good of family, society and nations (cf. Rom. 13:1-7). It is also equally true that one cannot obey if he or she does not care to listen to proper instructions. Before you learn to command you must first learn to obey.

In the two cities spoken of by St. Augustine (the city of God and the earthly city), we may say that the earthly city tends to depreciate the value of obedience in favor of a false sense of freedom that ends in its own nemesis or destruction. It is characterized by its affectation of total independence and self-sufficiency. It presents itself as the very antithesis of the life of God. God's infallible word warns and assures us that at the very end of life when we face God's judgment everyone gets what he or she deserves (cf. Mt.25:31) 25:31-46).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Deeper Meaning Behind

The fact in Jesus' life and teaching that He asked people not to talk about His miracles, even commanding the demons to keep quiet about His identity since they knew who He was (cf. Mk. 1:26; Mk. 1:34). This is consistent with His teachings on humility and that we are not to do our good deeds for the sake of outward show or giving impression otherwise we risk losing the heavenly reward (cf. Mt. 6:1-18). In fact He died the shameful death of the cross. We do not need to make propaganda of what numbers Christianity is now. Just look around without much hullabaloo. After all, humility is truth. And the important thing is our sincerity in searching for the truth. There is a German proverb that says: Die tat ist alles, Nichts der Ruhm (the deed is everything, the glory naught).

"If I may advise you in the name of Christ and if you can hear it as the voice of love; if we share the same spirit and are capable of mercy and compassion, then I beg of you make me very happy: have one love, one spirit, one feeling, do nothing through rivalry or vain conceit. On the contrary let each of you gently consider the others as more important than yourselves. Do not seek your own interest, but rather that of others. Let what was seen in Christ Jesus be seen in you. Though being divine in nature, he did not claim in fact equality with God, but emptied himself, taking on the nature of a servant, made in human likeness, and in his appearance found as a man. He humbled himself by being obedient to death, death on the cross. That is why God exalted him and gave him the Name which outshines all names, so that at the Name of Jesus all knees should bend in heaven, on earth and among the dead, and all tongues proclaim that Christ Jesus is the Lord to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:1-11).

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Koran Talks About Jesus

There ought to be some complementarity in the Koran and the Bible, as we strive for reconciliation, harmony and love. The Koran talks about the miracles of Jesus, curing the sick and raising the dead in Surah (chapter) 3:49; the clear signs He showed in Surah 43:63; His coming for the last judgment in Surah 43:61. He comments thus in Surah 3:50 and Surah 43:63 - "therefore fear Allah and obey me."

Also the Christian Bible talks about the deeds or works of Jesus. As the Latin saying goes: contra factum non valet argumentum (you do not argue against facts). Jesus spoke the following to respond to the Jews:
"The Jews then picked up stones to throw at him; so Jesus said, 'I have openly done many good works among you which the Father gave me to do. For which of these do you stone me?' The Jews answered, 'We are not stoning you for doing a good work but for insulting God; you are only a man and you make yourself God.'
Then Jesus replied, 'Is this not written in your Law: I said: you are gods? So those who received the word of God were called gods and the Scripture is always true. Then what should be said of the one anointed and sent into the world by the Father? Am I insulting God when I say: 'I am the Son of God'?
If I am not doing the works of my Father, do not believe me. But if I do them, even though you don't put faith in me, believe me because of the works I do, and know that the Father is in me and I in the Father.' Again they tried to arrest him, but Jesus escaped from their hands" (Jn. 10:31-39).

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Religion and Governance

It has been said that religion is a great help to the state in the sense that citizens who have their religion that is based on truth are a more conscientious and peaceful people. Certainly, because true religion supports such basic tenets as “do unto others as you want others do unto you” (Mt. 7:12). And true religion also teaches that “God repays everyone as his works deserve” (Mt. 16:27; Ps. 62:12). In short that’s what the common saying signifies: “you get what you deserve.”

For a conscientious people, you do not need to set so many laws or rules to guide them, since by the early training or teaching of religion, they know that as an “all-seeing eye” God knows all the secrets of the heart, the very source of good or evil desires. “It is from within that evil intentions emerge: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, pride, folly….these make a man unclean” (Mk. 7:21).

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

There Never was a Good War or a Bad Peace

This statement by Benjamin Franklin has some deeper truth in it when we consider the point of Jesus who said: "What will a man gain if he wins the whole world and ruin his life? What has a man to offer in exchange for his life?" (Mt. 16:26). You cannot pay for the value of one life; even for the misery caused to families who are forced to evacuate their homes to avoid loss of lives.....

That's the reason why Jesus was favoring a solution through humble dialogue and friendly confrontation. That is what he meant by the texts, if you read between the lines, as in the gospel of Matthew, chapter 5, verses 38-48:

"You have heard that it was said: An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you this: do not oppose evil with evil; if someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn and offer him the other. If someone forces you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give when asked and do not turn your back on anyone who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said Love your fellowman and hate your enemy. But this I tell you: Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons and daughters of your Father in Heaven. For he makes his sun rise on both bad and good, and he gives rain to both the just and the unjust.

"If you love those who love you, what is special about that? Do even tax collectors not do as much as that? And if you are friendly only to your brethren, what is so exceptional about that? Do not even the pagans do as much? For your part you shall be righteous and perfect in the way your heavenly Father is righteous and perfect."