Monday, May 28, 2007

Beginning Small Is The Best Way

Pondo ng Pinoy lives with the principle, "Ano mang magaling, kahit na maliit, basta't malimit, ay patungong langit!". One song of Michael Jackson stated, "Maybe you and I can't do great things. We may not change the world in one day. But still, we can change something today. In our small way!" And maybe some others more believe and live this principle.
Actually, it makes sense. I believe, the principle is more stable, certain, and effective. If we begin with doing good things, no matter how small are they before the eyes of the world, for God, it is always big. Instant success is what it is, instant! It is hard to sustain. There maybe exceptions, but in most cases, it doesn't last. However, those who begin with small things, they progress steadily and establish their ways and their systems permanently.
If we are given the chance to do great and wondrous things, thanks be to God. But the everyday chance of doing good things should never be taken for granted. Rather, they must be appreciated because they will form the foundation not only of our person but of those whose life we will affect. Let us always take every opportunity of doing good!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Election 109 - Toss Coin for Ties!

Did you know that one of the options for deciding a tie in the elections is a toss coin? The other option is by drawing lots. This happened in one of the towns of Bontoc when two candidates (Bellang and Ngeteg) were tied for the last slot. When the election official announced that the tie will be resolved via a toss coin, the people thought that she wad joking. But when she brought out a coin and was ready to toss, that was the time when they realized she was serious. The candidates (who are relatives) talked about the process and had a gentleman's agreement to honor the result of the process. Bellang won the toss and was declared councilor!
You may criticize the process but it is an approved process. Why subject the people to another tedious elections? Why spent more for it? In a civilized place, a toss coin would do! My kudos to the people of Bondoc especially to the two candidates. I hope that all elections in this country will be done in the same spirit. In that case, our elections would be a wonderful rather than a distressful exercise!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Election 108 - What's Up Gov.?

Today, the new governor of Pampanga is a Catholic diocesan priest by the name of Rev. Fr. Ed Panlilio. "Among Ed", as he was fondly called by his flock, defied and beat all odds and won against two formidable candidates (Baby Pineda-suspected Jueteng operator and Mark Lapid-suspected for corruption). With his win, he had proven a lot of things; 1. a candidate only needs the support of his people and need not spend too much for his campaign, 2. a priest is truly the recognized leader of the community, 3. sincerity and reform are two very important causes for civil leadership, 4. faith still prevails over life, 5. the decision on leadership still rests in the people, 6. nothing is impossible!
The win of Among Ed is not without serious consequences though. How would he govern? Does he have the will curb immorality and instill morality? How about those corrupt in the offices, will they be asked to resign or shape up? How would he deal with jueteng? There are many "hows" he would have to address in running the province. How about his priesthood? Will he permanently leave the ministry? What does his winning make of the priesthood? Is civil ministry more important than spiritual ministry? Does this open the gates for priests to run and be an alternative candidate in any election? Surely, the Church is hard put to quickly respond to the question.
But the most challenging question is, like the Mel Gibson challenge to his people to join him to fight the more skilled and equipt English army, "Is there no one else?" Of the millions of citizens in Pampanga province, no one deserved to be their leader other than Among Ed? In the history of the Church and nations, whenever a crisis exists, there will come a time when a new leader will emerge. Out of necessity, a new leader is bound to emerge. In this case, is it Among Ed?
Personally, I believe, Among Ed would be a good leader. His experience as a priest involved in social action will be the nucleus of his service. He also came from a family that was once involved in politics. Therefore, not everything will be new to him. But still, times are very different now. Evil is much much more subtle and sophisticated. After dealing with the evils of their government, my hope is that he would go back to his priestly ministry. I hope that his term as governor is only transitory. What he must do is to form new leaders in Pampanga and form his constituents to be vigilant, hardworking, cooperative and moral. He must form them to stand up for goodness and never tolerate immorality. They must be able to communicate to corrupt citizens that they do not have a place in their province. In any case, I pray for his success. His success is not only a success for Pampanga, but for the Church as well. Congratulations to "Among Ed" and the people of Pampanga!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Christian Peace

The closest human experience of Christian peace if when children make peace. They may be the fiercest enemies when they are at odds against each other, but when they make peace, it is always genuine and true. It brings an almost instant healing to both parties. Peace, according to Christ is reconciliation. It is an offer of the healing of the soul. It is forgiveness and union. God initiated peace when He decided to become one like us in the Incarnation. At that time, the world was in great sin. The world needed a savior. The world needs to be reconciled with God. God was the one who initiated the healing of the world. When Jesus resurrected, the healing and forgiveness was merited by human kind. Subsequent sins, when truly repented would be forgiven by God. The sinner will be given another chance. After the resurrection, Christ greeted the apostles with "Peace!" He really meant forgiveness and offer reconciliation. Christian peace therefore is salvific. It seeks not only to reconcile man to God, but also to offer eternal life. Christian Peace is an invitation to life everlasting. Christian Peace is being in heaven with God!

Election - 107 Election 2007, "Generally peaceful."

Almost everyone who was asked about the conduct of the 2007 elections said that it was generally peaceful The Comelec, led by Commissioner Ben Abalos claimed vindication that the elections are peaceful and clean and not violent and dirty as the opposition claimed. What does "generally peaceful" mean? Does it mean the disenfranchisement of millions of voters? Does it mean the buying of votes and election violations (presence of police, government officials, display of posters, etc.) right in the precinct areas? Does it mean the killing of some poll watchers and BEI personnel (e.g. burning of a school that led to the death of a teacher?)? Does it mean the massive cheating by both camps and the delaying tactics in the municipal and Comelec Canvass? Does it mean overspending? Does it mean forcing barangay officials to fulfill the "command vote" and then get one million pesos for doing so? Does it mean selling the results of an election for a big amount? And maybe other violations more that may never be known. If this is what "generally peaceful" means, then, we might just include "generally peaceful" as a reason for failure of elections. I can just cite one of the main reasons why these "generally peaceful" activities continue to happen. Poor enforcement of the election laws, failure to convict the guilty, and rewarding those who violated. Only in the Philippines!

Why Jesus Had To Leave

After His resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ bade goodbye to the apostles and Ascended into heaven. Why does he had to leave? Is it not more effective if He remained? His appearance will be the best testimony to His resurrection.
The resurrected Lord, in the first place, is not anymore like any human being. He already had the "glorified" body. He does not belong anymore to the world. Besides, it was part of God's plan for the Lord Jesus to be born, minister, suffer, die and resurrect. But the resurrection is not the end. He will send His Spirit who will make the Lord present not only to the apostles, or the Jews, or the Gentiles. His Spirit will make it possible for Him to be present in each and everyone of us at the same time! If He did not leave, His presence will only be limited to where He is. Now that His Spirit is with us, He is here, there, and everywhere!
In His Spirit, we always experience His presence and guidance.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Our New Church Will Bring Us To Hell?

I received a reaction that because of the church we are building, we are going to hell. I was not sure about the reason why such statement was made. But, honestly, I was taken aback by the comment. Suddenly, I questioned what we were doing. Suddenly, I began to reflect on it again. I presumed that the point was that we were making a very "expensive" church. It may seem to be expensive, but I would rather see it as relatively expensive and therefore may be justifiable. If the assumption was that spending so much money for a church is a grave sin and immoral and therefore will bring the builder to hell, then, so many are going to hell! How about those "rich" people who built houses that were exorbitant? How about the Basilicas in other countries? St. Peter in Rome was definitely expensive even during its time. Is damnation and salvation determined by the "cost"? Our parish church maybe expensive for some reasons but many do not know that most if not all of the parts of our church were carefully designed and their use and relevance were a result of so much reflection before they were made. The process of deciding the material and the design underwent a very tedious process. We were fortunate to have an architect that cared so much for our church that he really researched and exerted efforts that will make our church meaningful, relevant, and still beautiful.
With this church, I am willing to go to hell! But I know that I will be proud when I appear before God because I had tried to give to His home here on earth, our place of worship, only the best and the most right! How about the others? Can they claim the same for the buildings or houses they had built? Can they claim the same for the money they had spent for things they had acquired?

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Can You Prove That You Are A Christian?

Jesus, before He went back to His Father gave the commandment to all of us through His apostles that we must love each other the way He loved us. It means we must do everything to show our love for each other. Even if it will entail suffering and death, we must continue to love the way He unconditionally and consistently loved us by suffering and dying for us while we were still sinners.
This commandment of loving one another and the way He loved us is our entry to heaven. It is our identity. It is our symbol. Christians would be known because of the way they love each other. Though other symbols like uniforms, badges, emblems, motto, certificates, and other human symbols are important in the initial recognition of a Christian, Jesus meant for us to show it by loving. The essence of being a Christian lies not in the externalities but in the living of the faith.
Did you know that our faith is so beautiful that great men of other religion are very attracted to our Lord Jesus Christ? However, we, His followers, are not being good witnesses to the teachings and life of our God. They like Christianity but not the Christians. Picture this, when you meet St. Peter in heaven's gate and ask you to prove that you are a Christian, can you prove it?