Sunday, January 23, 2011

4 Last Things

(Forewarned is forearmed)

When a man puts things under consideration he ought always to consider where it eventually leads to. A Latin adage has a point to guide us to when it states: Finis est super omnia (the aim and objective is always foremost in consideration).

Should it be money, as the world does? Of course not! God’s word warns us: “The love of money is the root of all evils” (1 Tim. 6:10). That is what happens many times when people aimlessly move in our world, not for the good of humanity, but just because they want to make more money. They don’t care whether their pursuits are right or wrong, because what’s important for them is their ambition for more and more money. Jesus already warned us: “No one can be the slave of two masters…You cannot be the slave of both God and of money” (Mt. 6:24). St. James in his letter to the Christian people had this to say: “Don’t you realize that making the world your friend is making God your enemy? Anyone who chooses the world for his friend turns himself into God’s enemy.”(Jas.4:4). When your structure is enslaved to money, that will tend towards its own nemesis, i.e. self-destruction.

You look at world reality. The four last things no man can escape: Death, Judgment, Hell, and Heaven. The last two to which Jesus refers as the very last you can find in the gospel of Matthew chapter 25, verses 31 to 46. Jesus tells us they refer to man’s eternal punishment in Hell or eternal bliss in Heaven, depending on his behavior here on earth. This is what Jesus talks about when He gives a word of warning to people who tirelessly enslave themselves to the passing world. “What, then, will a man gain if he wins the whole world and ruins his life? What has a man to offer in exchange for his life?” (Mt. 16:26). “The Son of Man is going to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and, when he does, he will reward each one according to his behavior” (Mt. 6:27).

Consider what one business analyst once said, Robert Townsend, a follower of Peter Drucker, who wrote the bestseller: “Up the Organization.” He has some practical angles, even if he speaks in the purely business field. “Money, like prestige, if sought directly, is almost never gained. It must come as a byproduct of a worthwhile objective or result which is sought and achieved for its own sake.” If that principle is essential in the monetary world, how much more in the matter of the eternal salvation of our souls. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His justice and all other things will be given you as well” (Mt. 6:33).

Why did Jesus have to suffer so much? Answer: to save us from everlasting death: the eternal fires of hell, and to bring us new life by His grace and enjoy everlasting happiness because of a life of true conversion and humility. To the proud and unrepentant, St. Paul who was once a Church persecutor but converted and became an ardent apostle of Jesus Christ has this rigid warning in his epistle to the Hebrews: “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31).

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Live and let live

(Golden Rule)

The above title is a common English proverb that signifies a respect, not only for our own, but also our neighbor’s life and rights. It somehow agrees with what the Lord Jesus indicates as the meaning of the prophetic messages and substance of the divine Law. Thus Jesus considers the following a golden rule: “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).

Presumably respect for life implies also not obstructing the oncoming life that is the normal result of sexual union of man and woman. Hence God’s word is the first book of the Bible. Gen. 1:28 expresses it this way: “God blessed them, saying to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it.’” What happens in our world is the desire for pleasure, power, money or other forms of greed that make people resort to the use of artificial methods to limit the birth rate.

So too the Catholic position is consistent in its respect for life and the rights of human beings, from infancy till adulthood, even till death itself. The Church stands against the abortifacient pills or injections, and against abortion. Also in its morality, as derived from the very traditions and earliest teachings, the Church stands against fornication and masturbation, following the 6th commandment – “Thou shall not commit adultery.” (See also Bible texts in Ex. 20:12-16, Deut. 5:16-20).

The concomitant moral rules are intended to build up a faithful, solid and loving family where the child can grow to maturity, both physically and spiritually. Thus stable, God-fearing families make also a strong society.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Great Battle

A long time ago this had been predicted by God. You read this in the Bible. All of us, like it or not, get involved, one way or another. It’s the everlasting fight between good and evil, God and the Devil.

Now the battle is to protect the first right of man: human life. As God had decreed in the first chapter of the Bible: “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it” (Gen. 1:25). While agents of darkness campaign to diminish life by abortifacients and abortion, the Church’s voice asks to consider the sacredness of life and the family and to improve rather the resources for a better quality of life and education so as to form future citizens of the kingdom of heaven. Not to limit life’s guests but rather increase the food for the partakers of the table of life.

The Bible describes that continuing battle this way: “Yahweh God said to the serpent, Since you have done that, be cursed among all the cattle and wild beasts! You will crawl on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life. I will make you enemies, you and the woman, your offspring and her offspring. He will crush your head and you will strike his heel” (Gen. 3:14-15). “When the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. Then the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly into the desert where she would be looked after for three and a half years. The serpent poured water out of his mouth after the woman, to carry her away in the flood, but the earth came to her rescue: it opened its mouth and swallowed the flood which the dragon had poured from its mouth. Then the dragon was furious with the woman and went off to wage war on the rest of her children, those who keep God’s commandments and bear witness to Jesus” (Rev. 12:13-17).

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Culture of Life

We look back to the times of Jesus, Mary and Joseph….yes, Christmas time when they cared lovingly for the baby Jesus. So Christmas is a celebration of life, as Mary and Joseph endeavored to save the Christ child from the clutches of King Herod who wanted to end the life of the child. What for? For political reasons, power, greed, and dominance.

Let us reminisce how history can repeat itself, those days of genocide since the very days of Moses, when the Egyptian king wanted to eliminate all male children (see Ex. 1:22), then the murder of the Holy Innocents by King Herod, then the Holocaust of millions of Jews by Hitler’s Nazi regime, the 40 million communistic purges by Stalin in Russia and neighboring countries, and in our very day the continuing holocaust and murders by the millions of abortions throughout the world. Let’s not forget that murder (including abortion) is part of the 4 sins crying to heaven for vengeance. They are, namely: willful murder (including abortion), the sin of Sodom, oppression of the poor, defrauding laborers of their wages.

Probably the sin of Sodom could be at the background and bottom line for many delusory efforts of today to make use of abortion and contraceptives to conceal and hide immoral practices including sodomist practices. The Webster dictionary describes Sodomy as follows: a) copulation with a member of the same sex or with an animal b) noncoital and esp. anal or oral copulation with a member of the opposite sex.

The Catholic Church issues guidelines on sexual practices, because such faculty has been instituted by God for the perpetuation of the human race, not specifically for pleasure. So the Church considers masturbation as a practice that is grievously and intrinsically disordered (see document – Declaration of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith concerning certain questions of sexual ethics, December 29, 1975, no. 9). Several texts from St. Paul show us how sexual immoralities may impede us from entrance to heaven. “When self-indulgence is at work the results are obvious: fornication, gross indecency and sexual irresponsibility; idolatry and sorcery; feuds and wrangling, jealousy, bad temper and quarrels; disagreements, factions, envy; drunkenness, orgies and similar things. I warn you now, as I warned you before: those who behave like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-22; see also 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Eph. 5:1-20). Remember that when God punished Sodom and Gomorrah the two towns disappeared from the map (see Gen. 19). As St. Paul says in Heb. 10:31, “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” If we look for victory in our world, it is because we endeavor to be on the side of truth, while the “devil is a murderer and the father of lies and deception” (see Jn. 8:44).