Thursday, September 30, 2010


(Occasions to sin)

There’s one Spanish saying that conveys an applicable meaning for our moral lives. “La ocasion hace el ladron” (Opportunity makes the thief). That means, if we take away all the precautionary safeguards, that would be tempting enough for violations in thievery or other kinds of sinful acts.

It seems that society today seems to be multiplicating these occasions or temptations too by the uncontrolled use of the media, to the point of indecency, thus showing a lack of respect for the human anatomy, especially of the female figure, being excessively exposed to nudity in the Internet pictures and videos. It is not the right way of making money, which in the present case becomes a source of corruption and abuse, for both young and old, as well as contributing to a distorted view of the human person. The pornography producers are not just doing a wrong way of making money but also contributing a waste of time, since pornography has negative effects in the person.

“Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Obstacles are sure to come, but alas for the one who provides them! It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone put round his neck than that he should lead astray a single one of these little ones. Watch yourselves!’” (Lk. 17:1-3) The word scandal originally derives from the Latin ‘scandalum’ which implies an obstacle to cause someone to trip or fall.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Contraceptive Issues

Many misunderstand the Church’s official position versus the use of artificial contraceptives and abortion, which are included in the controversial RH Bill; so too the present issues on sex education, which the Church sees as to be gradually developed as is natural within the family supervision rather than to be publicly taught in the public schools. This is exposed to corruption of the youth since pornography or indecent images are very much commercialized without control in the Internet media.

There’s no denying the fact that the proliferation of artificial contraceptives, many of which are abortifacient, can and do really reduce population. A friend Bishop of mine, Bishop R. Baccay, from the Tuguegarao Archdiocese, confided to me his observation in various places or sites he visited abroad where you can no more hear babies’ cries but rather the coughing of older people. Where then is the future of our country if the young people are being cut down in number. Yea, if there be a plan for a 2-child policy, can we then have the famous Cardinal Sin who was 14th in a family of 16 children, or a Manny Pacquiao who is 3rd among the children?

The Church would rather we endeavor to increase the food production and school facilities rather than limit the guests to the table of life. The Bible tells so in the very first chapter of the book: “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it” (Gen. 1:28). And we must not forget in conscience lest we commit a big mistake if we do not listen to the successor of Peter, the first Pope, whom the Lord Jesus commissioned, saying: “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven” (Mt. 16: 18-20).

There is still the angle to consider that the use of artificial contraceptives may lead to concealed cases of infidelities or immoralities in the sexual relations of the male and female population, as well as many other abuses because of the various anti-life and money syndicates that capitalize on the weakness of the human person in the line of sexuality. As an addendum we include below the Church’s official stand on the matter of sexual ethics which falls under the 6th commandment, taken from an address by Pope John Paul II to the bishops of the United States of America:

“With the frankness of the Gospel, the compassion of Pastors and with the charity of Christ, you have dealt with the question of the indissolubility of marriage, correctly saying: “The covenant between a man and a woman united in Christian marriage is as indissoluble and irrevocable as is the love of God for his people and the love of Christ for his Church. Exalting the beauty of marriage, you have rightly taken a position against both the theory of contraception and contraceptive practice, as did the encyclical letter Humanae vitae. I myself, today, with the same conviction as Paul VI, ratify the teaching of that encyclical issued by my Predecessor “in virtue of the mandate confided us by Christ”.

Describing the sexual union between husband and wife as a special expression of their covenant of love, you have correctly said: “The sexual relationship:is a human and moral good only within the sphere of marriage: outside marriage it is immoral”. As men who speak with “words of truth and the power of God” (2 Cor 6,7), as authentic teachers of the law of God and as compassionate pastors, you have correctly said: “Homosexual practice (which is to be distinguished from homosexual orientation) is morally deceitful”….”Both the Church’s teaching, according to its constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have stated without any hesitation that masturbation is a practice grievously and intrinsically disordered” (Declaration of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith concerning certain questions of sexual ethics,, Dec. 29, 1975, No. 9)..

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Obey God rather than Men

People with a conscience have the fear of God in their hearts as they go on their daily living. They respect others’ rights to life, liberty and property, for such is God’s law. Their justice is based on following God’s law, since God is supreme lawgiver under whom all others are subservient. Thus as Jesus had said, the substance of the law is: “So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets” (Mt. 7:12).

That means no one is obliged to obey any human authority when such gives an order violating God’s law, as is basically contained in the 10 commandments. We know of cases in past history, here or in other places, where soldiers were given orders to shoot, but they refused to obey because the would-be victims were innocent people. That happened in cases where the military subjects or members were people with conscience and the fear of God in their hearts. Let’s recall too the response of the early Apostles of Christianity who were commanded by the Jewish Sanhedrin not to teach or propagate the name of Jesus. The Holy Bible describes their reaction as follows. “When they had brought them in to face the Sanhedrin, the high priest demanded an explanation. ‘We gave you a formal warning’ he said, ‘not to preach in this name, and what have you done? You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and seem determined to fix the guilt of this man’s death on us.’ In reply Peter and the apostles said, ‘Obedience to God comes before obedience to men; it was the God of our ancestors who raised up Jesus, but it was you who had him executed by hanging on a tree. By his own right hand God has now raised him up to be leader and savior, to give repentance and forgiveness of sins through him to Israel. We are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him’” (Acts 5:29). Such is the same tenor of the Church when it stands against the anti-life forces that want to obstruct human life by promoting artificial contraceptives and abortion (e.g. RH bill). In the initial pages of the Bible we hear of God’s decree: “God blessed them, saying to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it.’” (Gen. 1:28).

Let’s give God the first place and command in our lives. Many problems or conflicts in the world were caused by false prophets and leaders with a greed for power and money.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Connected to Vocation

(right use of money)

Having observed some cases of dishonest or fraudulent use of money, especially not belonging to oneself, I do believe it can have an effect on vocation, i.e. it may damage one’s religious vocation as it did in some specific cases of people who did not bother to follow the line of honest use of money they had at hand.. That is also based on the word of Jesus. Yes, truly dishonesty may affect your vocation. Why, because God knows all things, even the most secret desires of your heart, and He rewards each one according to his or her behavior.

“The man who can be trusted in little things can be trusted in great; the man who is dishonest in little things will be dishonest in great. If then you cannot be trusted with money, that tainted thing, who will trust you with genuine riches? And if you cannot be trusted with what is not yours, who will give you what is your very own?” (Lk. 16:10-12). Jesus is speaking about material wealth which is something external to man and of spiritual values or virtues which are the most intimate possessions a man can have. We need to practice truthfulness and sobriety in both cases since they are really connected to each other.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Why Jesus is Peace?

Many claim to be peace or messengers of peace. But why we may say Jesus is peace?

Jesus is peace because He teaches what is needed for peace such as the following tenets from God’s word (the Bible)…. “So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets” (Mt. 7:`12). Many conflicts and wars come because of people judging their neighbor rashly, ever pointing accusing fingers at the other? Hence God’s word tells us: “Do not judge and you will not be judged; because the judgments you give are the judgments you will get, and the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given. Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the plank in your own? How dare you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the splinter out of your eye’, when all the time there is a plank in your own? Hypocrite! Take the plank out of your eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye” (Mt. 7:1-5). Then God wants us to forgive one another and reconcile with one another and not take revenge, which will only worsen the cycle of evil and violence. Besides, you cannot pay for the priceless value of one life. That is why, except for self-defense which is a natural human reaction, it had been rightly said—‘there never was a good war or a bad peace’.

God’s infallible word guides us to ward off such unruly feelings of revenge by leaving that to God’s just and Almighty hand. Check God’s word in the Bible: “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 will heap red-hot coals on his head. Resist evil and conquer it with good” (Rom. 12:17-21).

Moreover, Jesus asks us to reconcile with one another in the spirit of love and harmony. “So then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering” (Mt. 5:23-25). It is a matter of swallowing your filthy pride for the sake of peace, love, harmony, and your own eternal salvation. Jesus gives us the secure assurance, when we follow His way of love and peace. “Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world” (Mt. 25:34-35). But to those who show no love, respect and concern for the fellowman or woman, this will be terrible condemnation at Judgment day: “Go away from me, with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels”(Mt.25:41).

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sources of Sanctification

God calls us to be holy, as when He said, through His Son Jesus Christ--"Be ye perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect....He causes His sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and His rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike" (Mt. 5:44-48). Yes, God calls us to be saints, definitely. But where is the fountain of living waters where we can drink freely? Jesus had said this, without doubt, --"Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Mt. 4:4). The Bishops of the world had gathered in a synod for 2 times and the theme was precisely on the Word of God.

It is clear, though, that Jesus is the Word made flesh as the Bible itself attests in Jn. 1:14. And He Himself had clearly said--"Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood you will not have life in you" (Jn. 6:53). "I am the living bread which has come down from heaven" (Jn. 6:51). "Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever" (Jn. 6:58). If we go through the Church's history, there are saints by the thousands, even if you just check on the popular ones or books on the lives of saints. It's true too that God confirms the veracity or sanctity of the believers by accompanying proofs of God's power as Jesus promised: "These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover" (Mk. 16:17018). But let's not forget they were loyal servants of the Church and received the Sacraments of the same Roman Catholic Church. Naturally they admit and believe what that popular Jesuit tagalog song entones: "Ikaw, Jesus, ang tinapay ng buhay, binasbasan, hanati't inialay (translate: Jesus, you are the bread of life, blessed, broken and offered) -- composed by G. Atienza - S. Borres, Jr., SJ and M. Francisco, SJ. The sacramental life in the Eucharist and the other sacraments reaches its perfection when the individual lives his or her life, by being faithful to God's will, in all things, great or small. God's infallible word tells us: "He who is faithful in little things will also be faithful in greater things" (Lk. 16:10).

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Remember History

Certainly the review of history has a deep role to play in our life since history, if honest, accurate, and based on facts, can teach us the basics of discipline and respect or care for one another’s rights and needs. As they say, “what goes around comes back.” Jesus Himself had taught us: “The amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back” (Lk. 6:38). So really, it has to be an honest quest for true facts. As a Latin proverb asserts: Contra factum non valet argumentum (No valid arguments are there against facts).

Jesus came to our world, in all humility, asserting the truth, helping humanity in many ways, showing marvelous power, yet always under the humble cover of a simple and loving attitude. God came to our world, born in a stable at Bethlehem . Yet in all the facts of history, we see the hand of God. All the oppressors, the totalitarian regimes wanted full power and authority for themselves alone. But where are all those awesome powers that wanted to put down the Church, both from enemies inside and outside? The Church’s role is only to bring the love, truth and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ to our world. As Jesus was stating once: “Search the Scriptures in which you think you have eternal life—They also testify on my behalf” (Jn. 5:39).

It’s the same way we are to conclude our discussions on history. Where is God’s hand pointing and working out our destiny? As the powerful kings and regimes came and went. And all those deceitful delusions portrayed before man for the greed of money, it’s for us to continue our search for the truth via history. Amid all the dreams of human power and glory—let’s recall a popular song after that World War II with the countless millions dead—“Where have all the flowers gone, the young girls gone, the soldiers gone, the graveyards gone, long time ago? When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?”

Remember history. Check history. It’s the Lord’s banner of truth and love that continues to fly. The Lord’s promise is ever true: “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never prevail against my Church. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 16:18).