Thursday, May 30, 2013

Listening to the church

We observe here in the Philippines a good number of Catholics.  It was in the 16th century that the first Catholic missionaries from Spain came over to bring the Catholic Faith to our land.  Ever since, by God’s grace, majority of Filipinos have been practicing the Catholic Faith devotedly, though it’s true there is an air of freedom of religions, since we are a democratic society.  But such freedom is part of our mature conscientiousness of being respectful of others’ rights in the quest for truth and freedom.  This fact presupposes our being true to ourselves in honestly searching for the truth.

Naturally our quest for the truth should not be a popularity contest of numbers in population but rather an objective perception or understanding of the truth.  That’s what the Lord wanted to tell us in the statement—“the truth shall set you free” (Jn. 8:32). Naturally, truth brings us success, but error or lies lead us to failure and disappointments.  Perhaps you might ask why I chose the present title of this write-up.  You can read the reason in Mt. 16:15-20, why we listen to the Church, especially through its authoritative sources, the Pope and the Bishops and their associates or pastors, in their official capacity or acts.  Jesus told His disciples: “Anyone who listens to you listens to me; anyone who rejects you rejects me, and those who reject me reject the one who sent me” (Lk. 10:15).  We have to respect as well all lawfully constituted authority.  Honesty and truth will stand the test of time and history since the hand of God is ever there to guide man’s destiny through the years.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Variety of Religions

In our world of multiplicity of religious sects it would be advisable to make a deeper study or research for truth.  After all, in the gospel of Matthew chapter seven and verse seven, God’s word tells us there: “Everyone who seeks, always finds” (Mt. 7:7).  It’s true we enjoy freedom of religion here in the Philippines, yet it is always worthwhile to seek for the truth since Jesus tells us – “the truth shall set you free” (Jn. 8:22).

            This means a search and sharing of the truth with one another in the spirit of love, honesty and sincerity, not as a breeding ground for angry discussions or monopolies but rather as an honest and humble quest for the truth which is the real touchstone for acquiring the real spirit of openness and freedom, not just a one-sided or biased attitude in the subjects being discussed.  That expression of Jesus: ‘everyone who seeks always finds’, presupposes our openness and sincerity to accept what is objectively true.  We have to learn to humbly surmount whatever prejudices stand in our way to acceptance of the truth.

Election Fever

(Your Vote Matters)

The campaign period for elections brought about the feverish clash of campaign strategies and propaganda that was heard all around.  But certainly people delved deeper within all that clash.  We tried to see who were there to really be an example of leadership with service, serving the interests of the people, not just the attractions of money and power.  Jesus already explained His mission as one of love and service. “Anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all.  For the Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mk. 10:45).

Let’s trust in the Lord and be unafraid of those who manipulate and want to maliciously change election results to their favor.  To be fair each of us must operate on the principles of truth, justice and honesty, and vote wisely and honestly for those who, we believe, will guide our country and nation to better times of peace, reconciliation, progress, and justice.  What’s important is our trust in God Almighty whose power is above all the feeble, puny, human efforts of fallacious people who desire to manipulate election results to their favor.  We do our part to vote honestly, in conscience for the honest and prudent leaders to be at the helm of our democratic government, a government of the people, for the people, and by the people. This means, we cast our vote with a prayer to God alone who is in control for those who truly trust in Him and pray to Him in the sincerity of their hearts.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

RH Law Controversies

(the reproductive health issues)

           The Catholic Church in the Philippines through the Bishops’ Conference has expressed its clear opposition to the RH Bill/Law.  Speaking in behalf of the Conference, Archbishop Socrates Villegas wrote in the 2012 Pastoral Letter of the CBCP, dated December 15, 2012: “On behalf of the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), currently out of the country, I reiterate the collective discernment of the Philippine Bishops that the RH Bill if passed into law can harm our nation… The RH Bill is being gift-wrapped to look like a gift for maternal health care.  It is not so.  It will lead to greater crimes against women… We congratulate the one hundred four (104) congressmen and women who voted NO to the RH Bill.  You have voted courageously, despite all pressures, to stand up for what is right and true… The truth is that to be pro-child, pro-mother and pro-poor, we must resist all threats against them.  This is justice.  Stand up for it; defend it; do not be swayed by worldly pleasures, and be the champion of the people who voted for you.  God knows and sees what you are doing.”

           Basically the main reason for the Church’s stand is that she stands in defense of the basic rights of man, which are the rights to life, liberty and property. And therefore those measures that go in contradiction to that basic respect for life or cause harm to the life of the human being will certainly fall under that basic 5th of God’s ten commandments:  “You shall not kill” (cf. Deut. 5:17).  We must be honest with ourselves and not deceive ourselves with other worldly interests or attractions and excuses that may cost us the eternal damnation of our souls.  As Archbishop Villegas mentions in his statement above-“God knows and sees what you are doing.”