Thursday, March 21, 2013

No man is an island

I guess such popular expression means that in this life we need to coordinate with others in order to be effective.  Sure, we do need privacy but no one denies that to advance anywhere in life you do need some ‘PR’ towards your companions or neighbors.  Even if you read God’s commandments in the Bible pages, you will see that they all speak about a just relationship to God, your-self and your neighbor.  When one of the Pharisees asked Jesus ‘which is the greatest commandment of the Law?’ Jesus answered: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the greatest and the first commandment.  The second resembles it: You must love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments hang the whole Law and the Prophets also”  (Mt. 22:34-40).  So this means a just and loving relationship to God, yourself and your fellow man or woman.  Isn’t that the very foundation of peace anywhere you go?

Jesus also says in another Bible text: “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).  This expresses some other important angle of the Law and the message of the Prophets, that is as regards its import or benefit on the person implementing the Law and instructions of the Prophets.  Jesus emphasizes this lesson to us: “. . . .the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back” (Lk. 6:38).

Mystery of Iniquity

God did not create sin or evil in the world.  Man has the free faculty to choose either good or evil.  Evil is like the absence of good, that is, something negative.  In the Bible, the last book talks about the eternal conflict between good and evil.  That’s because the devil, from envy, desires to bring more and more people to hell.  You will find the story there in the last book of the Bible,  the book of Revelation.

“War broke out in heaven, when Michael with his angels attacked the dragon.  The dragon fought back with his angels, but they were defeated and driven out of heaven.  The great dragon, the primeval serpent, known as the devil or Satan, who had deceived all the world, was hurled down to the earth and his angels were hurled down with him…. The dragon was enraged with the woman and went away to make war on the rest of her children, that is, all who obey God’s commandments and bear witness to Jesus” (Rev. 12:7-17).

It would be good to determine to always say and live the truth.  Why?  Because “the devil is a murderer and the father of lies” (Jn. 8:44).


Monday, March 4, 2013

A transitory life

We ought to be humble enough to accept what is evident to our eyes, as we see the world that it is a passing world.  So must we live in humility and reconciliation with our fellow man and woman, thanking God who is the Almighty and provident source of life and goodness.  Thus the Bible reminds us: “How happy are you who are poor: yours is the kingdom of God, happy are you who are hungry now; you shall be satisfied, happy are you who weep now; you shall laugh” (Lk. 6:20).  Let us not forget the lives of Jesus, and the Apostles and the Saints, why they preferred to live the poor and simple life

St. James in his letter explains this: “It is for the poor brother to be proud of his high rank, and the rich one to be thankful that he has been humbled, because riches last no longer than the flowers in the grass; the scorching sun comes up, and the grass withers, the flower falls; what looked so beautiful now disappears.  It is the same with the rich man: his business goes on; he himself perishes” (Jas. 1:9-11).  This privilege of the poor is recognized in the early Church; it (the kingdom of heaven) is barred to the rich unless they reduce themselves to the same humble state.  It is the reason why the example of the saints shows their free use of the world’s goods without being unduly attached to them and in accord with God’s will and laws.  In that same letter of St. James he criticizes in chapter 2 those attitudes or acts of discrimination towards the poor.  This could be a timely reminder for us in the Church and in society.

The unforgettable memories of life

Of all the memories dear to us of friends and acquaintances, it’s certainly hardest to forget our dear papas and mamas.  And why so?  Because they cared for us since childhood days and we were inside our mothers’ wombs for 9 months.  They they taught us life, how to survive in this fleeting world of the earth and how to achieve the final end of man, which is reaching eternal bliss in God’s heavenly reward

You will never forget the parents’ acts of kindness, teaching us discipline and how to live a life that is truthful and moral.  After all, who are your best teachers since you were born if not your own parents.  Of course, since as we grow we cannot be dependent on parents all the time but we must forge our way in life, absorbing and applying all that we have learned in the family and offer them for a life God wants us to live.  Jesus gave us the formula when He says in Matthew 19:29: “Everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or land for the sake of my name will be repaid a hundred times over, and also inherit eternal life” (Mt. 19:29). 

As you endeavor to live your vocation in life in accordance with God’s call to serve Him and humanity, your relationships tend to embrace the whole world wherever or whatever work God wants you to do in His name and for His name.  Just think of all those thousands of models and exemplars in the list of Catholic Saints venerated by the people.  These were the ones who obtained that hundredfold reward of the Lord in the above-quoted text of Mt. 19:29.

Paragon of true governance

The example of St. John the Baptist gives us an idea of what really true governance should be.  Not just only words but an honest attitude expressed in humble service.  This is what St. John the Baptist answered when he was asked whether he was the expected Messiah.  “You yourselves can bear me out: I said: I myself am not the Christ; I am the one who has been sent in front of him.  ‘The bride is only for the bridegroom; and yet the bridegroom’s friend, who stands there and listens, is glad when he hears the bridegroom’s voice.’ This same joy I feel, and now it is complete.  He must grow greater, I must grow smaller” (Jn. 3:28-30

True governance therefore is not just a pretense or make believe that we give first place to the people but an honest and sincere respect for their rights to be respected by the political servants who pledged their services at the time of elections.  So that the election promises may not be criticized as “it’s only words.” 

The true servants of the people must emulate those words of St. John the Baptist and really mean it when they pledge to serve the people and seek the common good of the country.  A public servant is not supposed to aggrandize himself or herself at the expense of the people but keep in mind the words of St. John the Baptist in serving persons or communities.  “He must grow great, I must grow smaller” (Jn. 4:30).