Monday, November 25, 2013

Year of Faith culmination

As we close the Year of Faith this Nov. 20, 2013 on this date here in Mati diocese, it goes without saying that this is also a moment to express our gratitude and thanks to God Almighty the giver and inspirer of our faith. Together with this celebration of the whole universal Church, we also express cordial thanks to the missionaries and people in bringing this faith to us, including our own parents and relatives who became instruments in fomenting and strengthening the Catholic Faith in our lives and organizations as life went on in the course of the years. Being convinced of the true faith we too must do our part to live and spread the Catholic Faith as a vital instrument of truth to lead us on to everlasting life. The history and traditions of the Catholic Church provide ample proof enough to assure us of infallibility and security in following the footsteps of the Lord Jesus leading to life everlasting.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The one God

(Catholic Creed) The concept of God, perfect and almighty, requires that He is supreme. And this is actually what Tradition and the Scriptures have taught us ever since. For example, the Catholic creed expresses it this way: “We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: By the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death, and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.” Actually, if you think of it, the Catholic Creed expresses God’s loving intervention in our world as He deigned to share in our very human nature and existence. In the traditional Apostles’ creed it is expressed as a personal expression of belief: “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary..” Etc. etc. The rest expresses the same events of the normal Catholic beliefs regarding the life of Jesus and the Catholic Church.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sure formula

In our frantic search for solutions maybe we miss the point many times. We keep on searching aimlessly but don’t hit the target because we are wrongly motivated. We aim at the wrong target. If only we lend a listening ear to the words of Jesus we would not be failing to reach our target of life everlasting and behaving therewith in accordance to Christian morals. Jesus has clearly assured us His support and guidance if we follow Him. That He says in Jn. 8:12—“He who follows me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life.” If till now you are a confused person, enslaved by pride or false pleasures, come to Jesus, the fountain of life, then you will find out why the Saints whose only purpose was to live according to the words of Jesus, living in humility, became the happiest people on earth, as they endeavored to learn His life and teachings of love and humility. That indeed was a sure formula of Jesus which is mentioned in Lk. 14:11 and Lk. 18:11, “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and the man who humbles himself will be exalted” (Lk. 18:11, also in Lk. 14:11). It’s worth adhering to a sure formula, after all there are countless examples in history, proud people who became humbled by the untoward happenings in life just because they missed the lessons of humility lived and taught by our Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God sitting at the right hand of the Father, being likewise true God and true man, the Savior of the world, as expressed in the Catholic Creed, usually recited on Sundays and Feast days of the Catholic world.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

True Church

As Jesus had said: “Search and you will find. The one who searches always finds” (Mt. 7:7). Hence it is important then we seek for the true Church founded by Jesus Christ, since there are a variety of groups claiming to be God’s true Church. After all it’s useless to make trouble out of this problem but to endeavor ourselves to be honest before God and seek for the true Church founded by Jesus Christ. We must remember that we all have that freedom to seek for the truth, especially in this present matter of our search for Christ’s true Church. Yes we have that freedom but we must be true and sincere with ourselves in ardently and faithfully searching and exposing the truth. Our freedom must ever be in the service of the truth. “The truth will set you free” (Jn. 8:32), while Jesus has clearly affirmed: “the devil is a liar and the father of lies” (Jn. 8:44). The more then should we strive to search for the living truth. And then let’s avoid the mistakes of the past, those hostilities and violence because of religious biases or differences in opinions, but let all be done in the spirit of love, freedom, respect, and truth. We are all in need of freedom, respect and peace to pursue the ideals of democracy and nation building.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A man of sorrows

I heard one description of Jesus as a man of sorrows. Certainly He had reason to be sad for the ingratitude of men who misunderstood His message of truth and salvation. His main mission in life was precisely to bring hope and salvation to ailing humanity. But for all His goodness and His many services, they had Him crucified. Being truly divine and human in nature, He rose from the dead three days after being buried in Calvary. His Resurrection, being truly the Son of God, is the greatest event in history ever. That only proves what St Peter tells us in Acts 4:12: “Of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved.” It is then of paramount importance for our conversion to be closely associated to Jesus in our lives and prayers and endeavor to follow the way He lived. Like Jesus we too have reason to be sad while we still journey on this earth which many have described as a valley of tears, which certainly is so till we reach the destiny God made us for, which is the kingdom of Heaven with all of God’s Saints and Holy Angels.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Strength from above

At times we realize how weak we are, needing strength from above. That is what grace means—an aid from the supernatural sources, that is, from God and His angels and saints, conscious as we are of the innate weakness in us poor humans. That’s the very reason we need the humility to admit our limitations. No wonder God’s holy book, the Bible, warns us against such temptations to pride. “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18). The humble person turns to God above and seeks supernatural help through prayer. So it has been said: Prayer will make us leave off sinning, or sinning will make us leave off prayer. Turn to God and change your sinful ways. “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the man who humbles himself will be exalted” (Lk. 14:11; Lk. 18:14). Jesus often repeated this since it is really essential for success and eternal salvation, which is what matters after all is said and done.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Quest for truth

everyone who seeks always finds – Mt. 7:7) Like anything precious in life, we have to search for it, as a man searching for precious pearls or stones. The same thing we have to do in respect to the truth, especially the eternal truths which are connected with our achieving our very final destination and goal in life, which is life everlasting. Jesus reminds of that when He tells us in Mt. 16:26: “What, then, will a man gain if he wins the whole world and ruins his life? Or what has a man to offer in exchange for his life? (Mt. 16:26). Think it over and be sure. Be honest with yourself, it will be worth enjoying all the advantages and privileges here on earth which is but a temporary life in exchange for an eternal punishment in Hell, just because we dared to violate one important command of God which asks us in His commands to respect all the rights of God and man. And in the cited verse above from Mt. 16:26, He is referring to life eternal in heaven which is the reward of those who truly keep God’s commandments which ask us ‘to give to everyone his due, namely, to God our total allegiance above all and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves (cf. Mt. 7:12; Mt. 22:34-30).

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Unforgettable experiences

It’s true there are hard to forget experiences, especially concerning our loved ones already departed from this world, who cared for us since our tender years, like our father and mother, brothers and sisters or other close relations. That’s only normal, because we experienced their loving care and protection. But God wants us to rise above all those fleeting memories of the past and give Him all the glory due to Him. “Anyone who prefers father or mother to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who prefers son or daughter to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it” (Mt. 10:37-39). As we go along our earthly life there are many relationships we encounter but these only remind us we have to thank God for them since He is the source of all graces and realities. We just have to pray for them since all these good people and relationships are only a part of God’s loving care for us His humble created human beings placed in the world to perpetuate and give to God almighty all the glory that belongs to Him as the Creator of heaven and earth..

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The obedience factor

Among the three public promises (vows) in religious communities, orders or congregations, the vow of obedience seems to be the more fundamental since the two others flow from it (poverty, chastity). No wonder at one time (see Jn. 4:34) Jesus expressed it this way: “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me, and to complete his work” (Jn. 4:34). One of the reasons Jesus emphasizes it is because disobedience has always been the source of pride and the fall of Satan and his cohorts of devils. It also is the source of pride that can erode the bright virtues of an innocent soul. Instead of being that happy humble person or servant he might turn out to be one hateful character because of a spirit of pride that corrodes his other excellent virtues. That has been the cause behind the fallen angels—Satan and his cohorts in Hell and the downfall of many a person in all history whatsoever. Satan’s banner carried the message ‘I shall not obey’, so he was cast in Hell. The same fate has been or is being repeated by all those who follow the ways of the devil, the line of disobedience. Remember history and endeavor to avoid the mistakes of history.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Renouncing self to follow Jesus

The spirit of sacrifice is behind many successes in life. We ought to learn to give up some things for the sake of gaining something of greater value, especially in the after life, after all this life is but temporary and there still is the everlasting life to seek for, which is God’s reward to us for doing His will and commandments. Jesus talks of such sacrifice when we give prime importance to His words and commands. We have to make the right choices in this life. That’s what Jesus means to tell us in Mt. 10:37-39. “Anyone who does not take up his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me. Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.” It’s true family acquaintances are really closest for most of us but they are not over and above our allegiance to God, after all God is the very source of our life and He is our final goal and destiny to reward us for all the good we ever did in this our passing and transitory life.

Friday, September 6, 2013

God cares!

Nada te turbe, nada te espante, todo se pasa, Dios no se muda. Quien a Dios tiene, nada le falta, Solo Dios basta (translated: Let nothing disturb you or frighten you. Everything is transitory, only God is unchanging. He who possesses God lacks nothing. God alone suffices). That poem in Spanish by St. Teresa of Avila attracted me since younger days. It’s a poem of childlike trust in God. Of course, we should not forget the advice of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Mt. 18:1-4: “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). Jesus means to tell us the reality. What mainly troubles or distresses us at times comes from our own pride or lack of trust in our heavenly Father, God Almighty who is the Creator of all that exists. So reminding us of a childlike attitude towards God and all created realities is basic in a stable person in quest of the truth and the coming of God’s kingdom. Usually the worrisome and problematic people are those whose hearts have lost that simplicity of a little child which Jesus mentions in Mt. 18:1-4. Go back to such childlike trust in God and you will find your troubles becoming less and less because of your sincere belief in the providential fatherhood of God who really cares for you.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Fantastic But Real World

A FANTASTIC BUT REAL WORLD As we conjecture in contemplation on the things around us, both humans and other material realities, there we see and observe a reflection of God’s eternal glory, yea with all the wonderful things of creation, both people and the realities and happenings surrounding us the world over, we realize there is an Almighty God who created all the wonders of nature around us, and who cares for us. Whatever section or part of nature you concentrate on, you begin to realize there is an imprint or shadow of divine action which we can call God’s creation and act of providence. We can only gape in awe and surprise at the fantastic wonders of God’s creation and then turn to our own humble selves, as mortal men and women awaiting the rewards of a heavenly Father after finishing the limited time given to us in this earthly existence. Do not forget the reminder from God’s word in the Holy Bible: “With sweat on your brow shall you eat your bread, until you return to the soil, as you were taken from it. For dust you are and to dust you shall return” (Gen. 3:19). That is a reminder for human beings to avoid sinful pride, a source of all sin in man and angels, and to live the teaching of Jesus—“anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and anyone who humbles himself will be exalted” (Mt. 23:11-12). The story of the pride of the fallen angels, that is, Satan and those of the angels who were cast into Hell, you can read in the book of Revelation (the last book of the Holy Bible) in chapter 12. “The devil is a murderer and the father of lies” (Jn. 8:44). This goes to show that if we are to follow Jesus we must tread the path of truth, love and humility because Satan’s path is the path of untruth (lies) and hatred (or murder), and pride. The Son of man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt. 10:45). The mind or banner of Satan and the fallen angels or devils carried the opposite of what Jesus was saying—“Non serviam” (which means: I shall not serve).

Saturday, August 31, 2013

There Never Was a Good War or a Bad Peace

The expression of our title once coined by the famous Benjamin Franklin contains really much food for thought. It is true we are not supposed to go to war except only for self-defense. Violence is not supposed to be applied for the sake of forcing others to do what we want. Besides in wars there is an irreparable loss of human lives. That’s precisely God’s 5th commandment: “Thou shalt not kill.” The more mature and educated societies do not have recourse to war to obtain their goals. Why? Because you cannot pay equitably for the loss of one life. Hence the more educated and mature ways for obtaining peace and progress is through open and peaceful dialogue with honest efforts at obtaining reconciliation and understanding between one another. They used to say in a local dialect: “Way di makuha sa sabot-sabot” (“You can obtain your aims through mutual understanding”). Peace is what Jesus taught us by word and example. Surely that is what we are to do: to aim for peace in all sectors.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The promise of Jesus

Surely the promise of Jesus will not fail, after all the trials and difficulties in the world.  Because He speaks as God’s Son, immortal, all-knowing, and almighty.  “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who  do people say the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘some say he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’  ‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’ ‘Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said, ‘the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven.  So now I say to you: 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. 16:13-20).

We know as we see the Catholic Church’s course through the ages and centuries that it has been by God’s power and mercy that she has reached till our present century after all the trials of past events and persecutions, and the challenges that tested her virtue and mission. After all she only endeavors to follow the ways of the Divine Master and Founder whose main teachings are basically truth and love, yes, Jesus the Savior of the world.  It would be fitting to remember past history in the advice of Gamaliel, a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin who advised the Jewish leaders to cease harassing the Christian groups. He said: “What I suggest, therefore, is that you leave these men alone and let them go.  If this enterprise, this movement of theirs, is of human origin it will break up of its own accord; but if it does in fact come from God you will not only be unable to destroy them, but you might find yourselves fighting against God” (Acts 5:38-39).    “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31).

Monday, August 19, 2013

Media history

(Catholic Mass Media in Mati)

The need for mass media involvement through press, radio and TV communications became inspired because of the need to spread God’s word since Jesus Christ had left those final words of instruction: “Go therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you.  And know that I am with you always, yes, to the end of time” (Mt. 28:16-20).

            Thus many people involved and inspired by God’s Holy Spirit worked for the establishment of the various means of communications in the media, such as the radio, TV and the press to bring God’s message to God’s people, and to all those who hunger for God’s word as a source of light and life.  “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Mt. 4:4). 

            In the late 1980s we had the humble beginnings of what is now: DXHM-AM/DXDV-FM Mati radio, TCTV Mati television.  The CBCP Monitor is a publication from the Philippine Catholic hierarcy as a whole while the Davao Catholic Herald is an initiative of the Davao Archdiocese, both including news items in connection with Catholic missionary projects or activities in the Philippines and abroad.

The tri-media (press, radio, TV) combination has worked sufficiently well in helping to disseminate God’s message via the media channels of communication.  We are hoping always to give first place to God, in the media social communications as well as in our lives, so that as we do the humble service to God’s word via the media, our lives may likewise proclaim: “To God belongs all the glory!”

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Christian sense

Some may be inclined to ridicule Christians because of being in this or that denomination, whether Catholic or any other Christian denomination, whatever that be.  Yet as the Latin proverb attests—contra factum non valet argumentum (translate as: you cannot argue against facts), which means we are to consider and picture respectfully the Christian believers who are so out of firm conviction based on reality and reason.  Why would so many, especially the Christian Saints and martyrs die for their faith in Christ if it were absurd or ridiculous?

            Besides, the lives of Jesus and the Saints are all attested to by facts, and the big bulk of the Christian populace have not been forced into accepting the Christian beliefs.  It has rather been born from reasonable conviction and mature motives.  While it is true there is such a thing as freedom of religion, it is also true to say: there is no such thing as a freedom of error or falsity.

            We all must honestly seek for the ‘truth that sets us free’ (Jn. 8:31-32).  Meaning to say, you are not free to strive for something which is nothing and is precisely what error and falsity is, being the opposite of truth and rightfulness, they are tantamount to nothing.  Isn’t the opposite of reality and truth, nothingness?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Humble and patient

Surely there is need for humility and patience as we strive to do God’s will in the midst of this changing world of ours with all the different characteristics of the people we meet or deal with.  What more support and consideration do we need than the very word of God speaking to us through St. Paul’s letter to the Hebrews (Heb. 10:36): “You will need patience to do God’s will and gain what he has promised.” 

“Only a little while now, a very little while, and the one that is coming will have come; he will not delay.  The righteous man will live by faith, but if he draws back, my soul will take no pleasure in him” (Heb. 10:37-38).

“You and I are not the sort of people who draw back, and are lost by it; we are the sort who keep faithful until our souls are saved” (Heb. 10:39).

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Solutions towards peace

Amid the various propositions for achieving peace we must listen to the words of Jesus who once affirmed: “The truth shall set you free” (Jn. 8:32).  That means we are to see His example and teachings and follow them to guide us to the truth.  We cannot just remain in the present jargon of multifarious opinions, not knowing which one of these is the truth. 

 And why Jesus, therefore?  Because His statements were not just mere words but always supported by deeds and facts.  As one Latin proverb says: “Contra factum non valet argumentum” (you do not argue against facts).

People will believe if our activities are not just mere words but always concreted in actions since it has been commonly said: “Actions speak louder than words.”  Let us not be just content in speaking but in doing as well actions that may benefit our world.  That means, actions or activities based on and inspired by genuine love of God and our neighbor–our fellow men and women.