Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Freedom of Religion

We know from past World History how religion came to be an excuse for misguided fanatics causing tensions, disturbances and upheavals. But such is a far cry from what true religion should be. If that was in the past, it is up to us to correct the mistakes of the past. As St. Paul advised in his first letter to the Corinthians—“As for prophets, let two or three of them speak, and the others attend to them. If one of the listeners receives a revelation, then the man who is already speaking should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn, so that everybody will learn something and everybody will be encouraged. Prophets can always control their prophetic spirits, since God is not a God of disorder but of peace “ (1 Cor. 14: 29-33). Jesus Himself showed respect for human freedom. When in the 6th chapter of St. John’s gospel Jesus spoke about Himself being food and drink for humanity and the bread of life, the gospel relates in Jn. 6:65-69: “After this, many of his disciples left him and stopped going with him. Then Jesus said to the twelve, ‘What about you, do you want to go away too?’ Simon Peter answered, Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we know that you are the Holy One of God.’” (Jn. 6:65-69).

In matters of religion we do have and enjoy an air of freedom because none is supposed to be forced into any religion against his or her own free will. Nevertheless since religion is supposed to be instrumental in providing us important truths connected to our eternal destiny of happiness versus an eternal destiny of woe and pain, and punishment, surely we are all obliged to seek for the clear and simple truths that can bring us to our true destiny of happiness as reward for our good works. “For 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 (his works)” (Mt. 16:27).

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Face the Situation Fearlessly

When Jesus or His followers or His angels came to console and encourage people, He used to allay all fears by saying those words which the late Blessed Pope John Paul II quoted upon the beginning of his term as pope in 1978: “Be not afraid.” Actually the more mature we become the less fears we have, since we put more trust in God Almighty, while of course doing the best we can from our own efforts.

That is what one writer, Dr. Alexander Cannon, implied when he wrote the book titled “Powers That Be” in 1935. “Therefore, I say to you: Dream of a great future and that future will come to you! For ‘all things are possible to him that believeth’ (Mk. 9:23). Fear will vanish when you walk up to it and face it like a man. The lion takes its fierceness from your fear: walk up to him and he will run from you; run away from him and he will run after you. Banish fear and you also banish evil. Love one another and hate will be no more. Face a situation fearlessly and there is no situation to be faced.

Never despise the day of small things! Don’t be a spiritual snob! Cast your whole enrgy into loving the little things as well as the big ones, for the little things presage greater ones ahead. You will get signs of the Promised Land long before you see it. Before Christopher Columbus reached the great continent of America, he saw birds in the air, and twigs in the water which told him that his great day was near. So it is with your life!”

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Grave harm to the environment

(cannot pay for many lives lost)

The consequences of indiscriminate mining and logging have just shown how many lives were lost during the storm that hit Mindanao (Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City specifically) last Dec. 16-17, 2011, including other parts of the Philippines, like Dumaguete City, etc.  This is of course one wake up call for us all to be reminded of

God’s word that warns us: “The love of money is the root of all evils and there are some who, pursuing it, have wandered away from the faith, and so given their souls any number of fatal wounds” (1 Tim. 6:10).  People just have not been educated in the right and successful way of making money, as expressed by the organization and business expert Robert Townsend, author of the bestseller “Up the Organization” (1970).  We quote some of his words here: “Money, like prestige, if sought directly, is almost never gained.  It must come as a byproduct of some worthwhile objective or result which is sought and achieved for its own sake.”  The idea is to give good service to the people, money will just naturally follow from our honest and quality service. Money is part of human transactions but should not be the prime motive.

Since those disastrous storms and floods more than a thousand lives were lost, which are of greater value than money.  It’s time we Filipinos evaluate our principles.  We need to think it over and remember past incidents and occurrences.  Perhaps we may recall a proverb that may incite us to greater depth in our actuations or reactions to situations—“the thinking man is always striking out something new.”  Yes, by thinking or reflective thought we may find better ways to meet the daily challenges, instead of just talking or being good at criticizing.  Yes, remember history so you won’t repeat the mistakes of history.  Otherwise when people are just thoughtless or enslaved to money, power and material things, the following question mark will crop up in people’s minds: “When will they ever learn” as is echoed in a favorite song after World War II, “Where have all the flowers gone,” when millions of people died and lost their lives.  So it is good that we be active in spreading good ideas of truth and love and justice, yes proclaiming the Good News Jesus Christ.  Otherwise the opposite might prevail, the thoughts of hatred, darkness, deception, and materialism.  Psalm no. 1 advices us: “He who meditates on the Law of the Lord day and night shall bear fruit in due season as a tree that is planted beside water streams.”  We must wake up and do our part to avoid the dangers ensuing from ecological or environmental devastation.  God’s word tells us that: “A stubborn heart will come to a bad end at last, and whoever loves danger will perish in it” (Sir. 3:27), in Bisaya—“Ang kagahig ulo sa katapusan magdala kanimo ngadto sa kagubot.  Ang magpaduol sa peligro, sa peligro usab madaut” (Sir. 3:27).