Saturday, February 12, 2005

The Secret of Survival

Why do the sheep survive in the harshness of the desert, grazing on
the same ground with the lions?
Why do the doves fly in the same sky with the eagles?
Why do the dolphins swim in the same ocean with the sharks?
Why do the ants crawl on the same ground with the elephants?

Defenseless as they are, the sheep, the doves, the dolphins,
the ants are never exiled from their abodes: not clipped by the eagles' claws,
not stabbed by the dagger-teeth of the lion, not slashed by the
razor teeth of the shark, not trampled down by elephant's feet.
No, never are they terminated by the violent.

It is written in the law of nature that the meek, the armed-less,
the lovable, will forever live, in fact will increase in number.
The strong, the brutal, the armed will still be there,
but they can never crush, can never strike the decisive blow.
Surprisingly, they are few, becoming a queer species,
and if not protected by law they might perish.

The law of morality runs in the same vein as the law of nature:
that the meek, the caring, the humble, the peace-loving, the just,
the witness of the Gospel values will still survive
in the midst of the violent, brutal forces.

However small, however, humble the work we engage in to bring
about the values of the Gospel, we shall not be crushed.
A finger at the beads of the Rosary is far greater than the finger at the trigger of a gun.
A hand guiding a child's hand to make the sign of the cross
is far greater than the hand that touches the push-button of a missile.
The small, meek David had crushed the giant, armor-vested Goliath.

For the eternal learning was set before us the example of the
humblest act of the Nazarene at the cross, of the LAMB of God.
From the act a story is told again and again.
It is a story that the violent thrust of the spear
has not gone further than the skin of humanity;
it should not get beyond the sanctuary of the soul.
Christ is the greatest survivor of the thrust of violence.

If only I can unfold His story in my life, I hold the secret of survival.

To Go More than a Mile

By being a Christian, one has pledged to carry on Christ’s love.

To love as Jesus does is to do extra, to go "more than a mile" (Mt. 5:41), to go beyond our ordinary human transactions. To love those whom you know as friends is not "extra." To give to those who have given you in return in not "more." To work because you are paid a salary is not "beyond." To give in order to be given in return is the form of honor, praise, promotion is not "extra."

All these--friendship, salary, honor, praise, promotion are ordinary human ground of transaction; everybody, even pagans related himself within this familiar ground.

Christ challenged us to go across the familiar ground and explore the unfamiliar, unknown:

To love those who are not lovable is "extra."
To give to those who cannot give in return is "more."
To serve those who cannot serve in return is "beyond."
To forgive even your enemy is "extra."

To explore the unfamiliar ground with Christ's love is going more than a mile. Only the extra-miler deserves the name "Christian."


In the early days of civilization, a king used to hire a jester or joker at his court to keep him happy and alive.

In the modern times, the late wealthy man, John Rochefeller used to employ a psychologist to cheer him up by motivating him to develop a happy attitude.

Both the kind and Rochefeller believed that the best method to keep them alive amidst the intricacies of their business was a motivation to develop a happy attitude. Alone, they could not do it by themselves; they need someone to motivate them--the joker and the psychologist. As they were employed they were always at the master's command to stir up the tide; they were there to deliver the commodities they were paid for; a package of smile and a kit of clinical mental health.

In the days past as well as in the present, it is an acknowledged fact that mental health or happy attitude--a thing of the spirit--is a basic necessity to maintain a sense of balance in the midst of a mad world.

People need someone to keep them happy and alive. We need someone more than a psychologist, more than a joker, more than a hired man. we need something more than mental health, more than nervous-tuning technique; we need more than a smile.

We need Jesus, we need the very life He meant when He said;
"I am the Life" (Jn 14:6),
More than mental health,
Christ gives moral health, the forgiveness of sins.
More than a nervous-tuning program,
He gives conscience formation.
More than an employed,
He incarnated Himself into the community of man.
More than happiness and smile,
He shows us how to achieve the fullness of life.

Not in anyone else but in Him alone, can a life in its fullness be found as he assures us, "I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full" (Jn 10:10). And as we walk on His way and live in His life, let's drop in at the house of Emmaus and partake the meal He prepares, in accord with his words, "for he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in him," (Jn 6:57).

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Hunting for the Best

In the course of doing our assignment we want to do it well,
and the best of course. As you are the first deployed mission
team, you earnestly want to set the best of everything.

Later on you will come to realize that the best we have put
up is not at all the best because we discover another way
better than before.

Therefore, the right attitude is to believe that what we are
doing now is not really the best; the best is elusive,
it is forever to be hunted.

Hunting for the best is what makes life thrilling and
missionary. The thrill of hunting ends when the hunter
is trapped by death. Only at that moment can the hunter
grasp the best he had been chasing in his life-time.

To believe that our work is the best is to be closed to
other possibilities for the better, even to be proud that
no one can do it better than we do.

What is important is the reason which motivates us to be
doing and not the doing itself. What matters most is,
"Thy will be done," and not what we have done.
What is important is to "whom shall i go,"
and not where shall I go.

With this perspective in mind, the "rest will be added
unto you" and then you are on the path to the BEST.
Without this perspective, you will become the BEAST.

Keep on chasing the best to tame the "beast" in us!


The home of the bird is the sky.
The home of the fish is the water.
The home of the animal is the land.

Where is the home of man?

Man can fly across the sky up to the moon.
Man can swim deep into the ocean-bottom.
Man can run fast like a bullet on the land.
He is boundless: crisscrossing the sky, the ocean and land.

But he is not a fish, not a bird, not an animal.
His home is neither the sky, the water nor the land.

His Home IS GOD--the home of the boundless spirit of man.

MARY: The Authentic Narrator

Mary was there at the Annunciation listening to the angelic
proclamation of her motherhood, "and you shall bear a
son and his name is Jesus."

She was in the manger in Bethlehem hugging her NiƱo
with her pinkish smile.

She was there at Egypt as a refugee to escape from the
death-threat to her Son; and she went back to Nazareth
to found a home of love and of work.

She was there at the Synagogue searching for her Son;
she was awed to see Jesus, who at twelve,
standing in the midst of the lawyers of the day teaching,
explaining the spirit of the laws and traditions.
She was the more perplexed when her Son declared
His responsibility, "Do you not know that
I am my Father's business?"

She was there at the first miracle at Cana where
she made an intervention to Jesus "they have no wine."
Even though "His hour has not yet come," nonetheless
Jesus could not withhold the plea of His mother.

She was there in all stages of the Passion:
she never fainted at the sight of pain her Son endured.
Conver unconscious as she heard the last breath
of life when He gasped, "It is finished."
Never abandoned the dead Son but held on
at the foot of the cross.

Modern Slave

A man is a slave:
when he is just a narrator of other stories,
when he is just an onlooker of events passing by,
when he is just a user of ready-made products,
when he is just a consumer of instant-junk food,
when his thoughts are xerox-copies of advertisements,
when he is afraid to make an extra step beyond the
traditional boundary, when he practices the old
Mosaic law of retaliation, when he is just contented
with the Manna of the technogical assembly lines.

Man is free, and he can set himself free:
only when he should create his own stories,
only when he is the actor of events,
only when he should be a producer,
only when he should extract something novel from the common,
only when he dates to tread the unfamiliar ground by faith,
only when he lives up to the New Covenant value of forgiveness,
only when he should eat the Bread of Life to sustain him in
pilgrimage towards the New Earth where no smoke gets into his eyes.

The Land: To be Shared

The deepest descent upon this earth is
Christ's "dwelling among us" in
human flesh and in time.

Christ, the Holy One has graced this earth
with His presence: He slept on earth, walked
over it, strolled the beaches, rode over the
waves of the sea. Up on a hill He bled
and was buried beneath the tomb.

This earth is penetrated by His presence:
"take off your sandals!" With bare feet
trace the bloody footprints of the divine
visitation. Touch with tenderness this purple
ground and feel the warmth of care.
It is good to be here, to live
To breathe the consecrated air.

This ground is like the altar
upon which was slain the "Lamb of God";
upon which the "bread of heaven"
is grown and served.

Indeed, this ground is holy, to be hallowed,
to be shared; meant for everyone.

Every one being born must have a place
at this holy ground;
Every one living must have a share of the food.

Just as any man is born in time
so shall he occupy in space.
This is a divine heritage.

The one who invades the entire sacred ground,
the few who grab all the sacred bread
will incur a desecration; "depart from me...
you have turned this temple into a den of thieves

The one who shares a space,
the one who breaks bread with others
will receive a consecration: when God announces,
"Good and faithful servants...come,
enter into the kingdom I have
prepared for you."

Monday, February 07, 2005

Your Philippines And My Philippines

Your Philippines is stripped naked
by the logger's teeth;
raped by the treasure diggers,
leaving her a prostitute by the
blistering embrace of a foreign hand.

My Philippines is gifted
with its mountain peaks,
surging reverently to the heaven,
beaded by trees, blanketed by forest;
veiled by the clouds.
Upon its shade, rests a home,
a sweet home for its local dwellers.

Your Philippine land
is turned into haciendas
by few multi-nationals.
Its plants are mono-cultured,
its products turned into agri-business,
its choicest fruits are served
on the foreign plate.

My Philippine land is to be shared;
made into mini-farms by the Filipinos;
its plants multi-cultured,
its products, the means of livelihood,
its choicest fruits serve the native mouth.

Your Philippine mountain, in the years ahead
will desert their position,
to invade the rivers, mangrove and seas,
rendering the fishing nets useless,
leaving man's mouth gaping-empty.

My Philippines must be cared for.
get rid of nature's rapers
whether illegal or legal.
Get them to put on their pants,
chase them out of this sacred land,
less they plunge mankind into the empty kettle.

My dream will come true:
only when I take pride of what is my own
and not of others;
only when I can think with my own mind
without the intervening grasp of foreigners.

For the value of man, as in any race
lies not in the gathering of possessions made by others
but by producing something through his creative mind.
Crude might be his creations but these will move
toward excellence, with his dignity exalted.


Immanuel: "God with us".
His taking residence with us is His bestowal of power.

Power to be more, power to become:
To those who are "Wrapped in swaddling clothes"
He makes them the "sign" pointing to where salvation has to be acted upon.

To those who live in the manger, in the shanties, at the street corners, He promised a home in His Kingdom.
To the shepherds, the marginals, He brought good news, "fear not, peace, a Saviour is born."
Henceforth, the world would not stand still, for the power is there to stir up men's heart to hope, to resurrect.

For this reason, rejoice, the Lord has arrived!
Rejoice, for His arrival empowered us to be with Him in His heavenly Bethlehem.

Are You Worried? (Lk 12:22-34)

Some are worried having no eye-glasses; but others have no eyes.
Some are worried having no handbag; but others don't have arms.
Some are worried having no new pair of shoes; but others have no feet.

Some are worrying getting fat; they get anxious, dying to get trimmed; but others simply don't have food; they get hungry thinning to die.

Some are worried having lost their comb, having no shampoo; but others have no hair at all; his bald head is exposed to weather harassment.

Some are worried not to own a new ring; but others have no fingers; in fact they make rings as business; they also make one for the nose; htye have only holes (in the leprosarium).

some are worried that their cheek, once pinkish with youthfulness are now accumulating furrows of shadows; but others have no cheek, only bones.

Why do some people--maybe many--invest their time, effort, money, even their life to worrying about their skin, about the covering, about the wrappings, about the tag, about the color, about the paint, about the hairdo, about how they smell--about the non-essentials that do no touch the core of self?

I admire those who do not have the essentials--without eyes, without limbs, without arms, without feet and ye they do not worry to death but instead they dare to cross the border of nothingness and enter into as a new world of creativity. What spirit transpires them into that new world? they have the spirit of faith that transcends reason; they have the love that overcomes hatred; they have the hope that penetrates the dark.

They are the brave.
They are inspirers of the hopeless.
They have no medal; they have no ranks of major and general, but anyhow, they are the undeclared heroes.


Things do not exist for themselves:

The soil does not fertilize for itself,
The sea does not abound fish for itself,
The air does not breathe for itself,
The plant does not bear fruit for itself,
The house does knot take residence for itself.

It is absurd that they exist for themselves; they exist for someone greater than themselves.
They exist for man, to be used by man.

If man were to exist for himself, he must be absurd and much more absurd that the things of nature.

Man must necessarily exist for Someone greater than hi9mself:
He must exist for God.

A Prayer To The Lord of Pastors

As i begin my pastoral ministry, I beg you to bestow on me the wisdom of Solomon to know the difference between right and wrong.

make my heart impartial as the Samaritan's to lift those beaten by the harsh world. Let me have the hand of Joseph of Arimathea to reach out those who are pinned down by their cross.

When afflicted by betrayal, remind me with your penetrating eyes that drove Peter to repentance. In times of doubt, give me the faith of St. Thomas. When my commitment falters, let me have the loyalty of St. John.

When I am down at my deepest pain, let me cling at the foot of Thy cross as your Mother Mary did. When I will be tired, give me the missionary urgency of St. Paul.

When I am crowded with work, let me have the enthusiasm of Zacheus to see you stop by a sycamore tree.

Please visit me in time of loneliness as You did to Martha and Mary.

Give me the privilege to see Thy glory as seen in Mr. Thabor that I may rejoice exceedingly as the Angels did. Amen