Monday, October 29, 2007

The best translation...

There were four clergymen who were discussing the merits of the
various translations of the Bible. One liked the King James Version
because of its simple, beautiful English. Another liked the American
Revised Version best because it is more literal and came nearer to
the original Hebrew and Greek. Still another liked Moffat's
translation because of its up-to-date vocabulary.

The fourth minister was silent. When asked to express his opinion, he
replied, "I like my mother's translation best." The other three
expressed surprise. They did not know that his mother had translated
the Bible. But he assured them, "She translated it into life, every
day of her life, and it was the most convincing translation I ever

- Author unknown

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Two wolves

Received through SMS (thanks, Atty. Elena):
An old man once told his grandson: "A terrible fight is going on inside me - a fight between two wolves. One is evil, it represents hate and anger. The other is good, it represents empathy, compassion, and love. This same fight that is going on inside me, is inside every other person too, even you."

The grandson then asked, "Which wolf will win?"

The old man replied, "The one you feed."

Time to change...

Tomorrow, we will again exercise our sovereign right to choose our leaders. It is an opportunity too to exercise our God-given intellect and will. Let us be discerning.

"Rumkuas tayo iti makaadipen a wagas ti biag-politika."
A few reminders to SK Voters

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Gestures of Prayer

Today’s Gospel (Lk 18:9-14) presents us 2 men praying: a self-righteous Pharisee: Lord, I thank you because I am not like the rest of humanity, especially this publican; and a repentant publican: Lord, be merciful to me because I am a sinner.

In the end, Jesus said that it is the tax collector who was justified

From this text, we could reflect on 3 gestures of prayer (which could stand for 3 attitudes of prayer) – (1) looking up to God with empty hands raised (praise of God); (2) bowed in humility, beating our breast (humility); and (3) standing side by side each other (solidarity)

Prayer is looking up to God and raising open, empty hands (raising our hearts to God, not raising our heads in pride) – PANAGDAYAW. Prayer is praise, thanksgiving and acknowledgment of God’s goodness, not praise and acknowledgment of one’s goodness and achievements.

The Pharisee was not praying to God; he was praying to himself. He was praising himself and indirectly claiming on God – I am good, I should be rewarded. Prayer is not proud.

Do we claim on God? Do we think God is indebted to us?

Prayer is bowing in humility and beating our breast in contrition (not pointing an accusing finger on others) – PANAGPAKUMBABA. Prayer is seeing ourselves beside God's infinite goodness, recognizing our limitations and trusting in his mercy.

The Pharisee compared himself to the tax collector – he looked down on the tax collector.

Beside God, there is no comparison possible – we see our limitations, our weaknesses, our sinfulness, and no response is more apt but humbly seeking his mercy.

When we sin we do not only transgress a law. We wound relationships. That is why, we all need healing and reconciliation.

Do we recognize our own sinfulness? When was the last time we came to confession? Do we look down on others?

Prayer is standing side by side with others in prayer (not isolating ourselves from others) PANAKIPAGMAYMAYSA.

Prayer builds community.

We stand side by side each other because we pray to one God. We are children of one Father. We are brothers and sisters.

We do not set ourselves apart from others in self-righteousness and pride. Instead, we recognize that we all need God, and we need each other.

Prayer leads to respect of others. Prayer leads to love. Prayer leads to compassion. Prayer leads to service.


The humble man’s prayer pierces the clouds. The Lord will not be slow in coming to his aid. (Sir 35:17)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A prelate asks forgiveness...

The Second Northern Luzon Youth Forum is ongoing (October 23-26) at the Immaculate Conception School of Theology. Today's Liturgy will be led by the Bishops of the Pangasinan Sub-region. Archbishop Oscar Cruz of Lingayen-Dagupan will be the presider and homilist.

He has a blog entry addressed to young people (blog entry of October 19, 2007). The Prelate of Lingayen-Dagupan, at one time President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines and Secretary of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, asks forgiveness.

Thought-provoking. Challenging.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Can love be commanded?

The “commandment” of love is only possible because it is more than a requirement. Love can be “commanded” because it has been freely given. We can love because we have been loved first, because God has loved us first.
- Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est

Random thoughts on Prayer

Pray without ceasing, persevere in prayer. (Luke 18:1 - 8)

If a godless and unconcerned judge would give a widow what she persisted in asking for, how much more will God listen to sincere, persevering prayer. God is a Father who loves his children – he will not give us a snake if we ask for a fish, or a scorpion if we ask for bread – he will give us what he knows is best for us.

Maybe this is why sometimes, our prayers seem to be unanswered – what we've been asking for may not work for our real good, and God has something better in store for us.

Although prayer is our personal act, our prayer is not only for ourselves – it is also for others. The prayer of Moses was not only for himself, but for the Israelites in battle. (Exodus 17:8 - 13)

Every moment of our lives, we are in battle, and we have to realize that we cannot do it alone, others cannot do it alone - we need help, they need help. Somebody put it well - we are strongest when we are on our knees.

And we have to realize that our lives are all interconnected.

As we pray for ourselves and for others, we build a connection with God, such that we no longer pray for what we want, but pray for what God wants for us, and pray that we may receive, pursue and be faithful to his will.

Two things consumed Jesus throughout his life – communion with the Father, and fulfilling his mission. The Gospels, especially Luke attest to this.

If Jesus, Son of God saw the need for prayer, communion with God, all the more for us.

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 120)

Saturday, October 6, 2007

"Lord, increase our faith."

We all have questions. Why are people poor? Why are we poor? Why did this happen? Why did it have to be us? Why is there suffering in the world? What is God doing amidst all the suffering in the world? Why does God allow all these to happen? Why do good men suffer? Where is God? Is there God?

We seek for ready answers and immediate solutions. But many are left unanswered. The Prophet Habakkuk also asked these questions (Habakkuk 1:2-3). The answer of God was – “Write these in tablets of stone. There will be a time when all these will cease, and there will only be goodness, peace and prosperity. It may come slowly, but it will surely come.” (Habakkuk 2:2-4) God was saying through the passage – Itaga mo sa bato. Lahat ng ito matatapos din. Mananaig ang kabutihan, at mananahan kayo sa kapayapan at kasaganahan. Just believe. Manalig ka.

But it will always be an uphill climb – enduring suffering, toil for a better life, working for justice, living a clean life, resisting corruption, holding on, fighting and not quitting, keeping the faith. We also get tired. We also get hurt. We also get frustrated. Sometimes the going gets really tough. Sometimes we meet everything but appreciation. Sometimes the certainty of failure is greater than the possibility of success. Sometimes the promises of our faith are obscured by the persistence of reality. The prayer of the disciples is to be our prayer – Lord, increase our faith (Luke 17:5).

Faith is not just a disposition of the mind. It is a disposition of the mind and heart lived in action. Faith without good works is dead. (James 2:26) Faith involves proclaiming a message of hope – that amidst all the negative things happening, the goodness of God will triumph, and working in our own capacity for the triumph of God, by allowing God to triumph in our person, our relationships, our day to day life, witnessing to his goodness and will for the good of all, even if it may be difficult. After all, God is our strength.

And while we hold on in our mind and heart, and work with all our hands and might, the questions may persist. But this time, rather than asking for ready answers and quick solutions, it will be a questioning praying for God’s presence as we seek the answers ourselves.

Blessed Theresa of Calcutta shines as an example for us. She grappled with and struggled through endless questions – existential and faith questions, ultimately even asking, “Where are you God in all these suffering and pain?” I would like to believe that her questioning was a confession of trust and a prayer faith, rather than a statement of doubt and disbelief. As she questioned the existence and persistence of poverty, suffering and pains of peoples, which has caused her heart to grieve in anguish, she did her best to do what Jesus would have done were he in her place – she loved the poor, she served the suffering, she attended to those in pain. I would like to believe that daily her prayer was, “Lord, increase my faith.”

We all have questions - because we all have problems, we go through all kinds of crises, and we live in a beautiful but troubled world. The Lord invites us not seek for ready answers and quick solutions. He invites us rather to pray for faith that makes us trust that God will fulfill his promises, and that gives us the resolve to work and allow God to fulfill these promises with, through and in us.

The Servant of God John Paul II constantly reminded us what Jesus told his disciples: “Do not be afraid. Believe in God. Believe in me.” (John 14:1) Let us respond, “Lord, we sometimes doubt and question. Increase our faith.”

Have a blessed Sunday.