Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sad, Sad, Sad

I was listening to the senate probe on the wiretapping issue when the testimony of a certain Mr. Remo struck me. He shared that he was one of those who arranged for the press conference of Atty. Samuel Ong. Just to give a brief background, Atty. Ong was in possession of a tape recording of the conversation of Pres. Arroyo with then Comelec Commissioner Garciliano. The tape was regarded as a devastating and solid evidence to prove that Pres. Arroyo cheated in the last elections. Before the press conference, the "group" (Atty. Ong, Sgt. Doble etc. inc. Mr. Remo) found refuge in Bahay-Pari which is a building the San Carlos Seminary Pastoral Formation Complex in Guadalupe, Makati City. Bishop Ted Bacani, bishop emeritus of the diocese of Novaliches, was responsible for their stay in the building. Mr. Remo claimed that they were welcomed in the building because food was prepared for them. However, the next day, in spite of the clear and present danger to the lives of would be "whistle blowers" Atty. Samuel Ong and Sgt. Vidal Doble, A Catholic bishop came and told them to get out of the complex. The bishop, according to him even added, "Wala kaming pakialam kung ano man ang mangyari sa inyo!" (We don't care what ever happens to you!") Mr. Remo commented that since then he had stopped going to church and had renounced his Catholic faith. He could not stomach the way the bishop (Church) treated them.
This is really sad. The "man of the cloth" is responsible for the lost of faith and renunciation of a faithful? Very ironic! As far as I am concerned, I would withhold judgment on the bishop or the church. Certainly, the context of the situation matters a lot. What were said and what happened before the statement are very important in order to fully understand the import of the statement. Also, what are the reasons of the church why she would urgently and "harshly" kick out the group at that time?
Unfortunately, Mr. Remo was deeply pained by what he saw and heard. His image of a pastor was shattered to the point that publicly, he renounced his faith. (This has hard consequences for Mr. Remo as far as the Church is concerned.) His statements , according to the laws of the church, subject him to the examination of his membership in the Catholic Church. My sincere hope is that it is temporary. As one senator in that hearing said, the mistake (if it was really one) of one does not speak of the whole. Mr. Remo though had a point when he said that he could not accept a faith that has such kind of pastor.
Faith has a personal dimension. It is voluntary and is decided by the person. The least we could do is to respect the response of Mr. Remo. But we must be reminded that the bishop is not the church even if the bishop acted for the church (without judging, I reiterate, the action of the bishop). Will the faith bring him to the promised destiny? Are the contents of the faith true? Are these truths from the Lord Jesus? If the answers to the questions are in the affirmative, then Mr. Remo has to reconsider his renunciation. What matters is the faith he belongs to and not merely on the mistakes or misbehavior's of the members. Needless to say, the priests, bishops and leaders of the church are not perfect people. This is not to justify the mistakes made but to remind us of the weakness and limitation of the members of the Church. Mr. Remo seems to be staking so much for so little.
In any case, what happened was very saddening.Let us hope that this will not be a standard or pattern for all Catholic Christians. Also, this serves as a reminder to pastors that they should give extreme care in dealing with the faithful. They should take great consideration of the possible misinterpretation and misunderstanding of the faithful. We must be greatful that God is a forgiving God. He is always willing to welcome those who were astray. We must do the same!

Monday, September 24, 2007

In Biofuel, We are Bound To Lose More

No doubt that the use of carbon (fossil) fuel should be diminished if not fully controlled in the future. The world is now in a race to find the best alternative for it. Here, in our country, there are really so many we can choose from or we can all use; e.g. solar energy, wind power, hydroelectric power, bio-gas, etc. The recent one and seemingly very popular is bio-fuel. It makes use of food products like soybean and corn to produce an alternative fuel.

But it is not without a "catch". While it is true that we will be able to produce a good quality and eco-friendly fuel, there are questionable consequences to it. One is that it will need great amounts of biofuel just to produce a few liters of biofuel. Because we need a great amount of raw materials, we need more land allotted for it. There will come a time when food would be given up for fuel!
Another is the use of more land for only one purpose. Include here the use of fertilizers and other chemicals that would destroy the land. The land would really be subjected to too much processes and may be abused to inutility!
Our country had just recently made an agreement with China (and God knows to who else?) allowing them to use some of our lands for bio fuel production. We just hope that extreme precautions and care are placed so that we will not be left holding the bag in the end.
Granted that we will be able to produce much bio fuel from food products. Are the fuels we will be able to produce much much greater than the energy we had used to produce them? Was this studied? What were the results?
In the end, the question is: is it worth it? My certain answer is, "No!"

The Height Of Greediness!

The height of greediness? Sometimes I am doub if greediness really has a height. The fact that it is greediness, it should have no height! It is because to be greedy means never to be satisfied. In any case, a measure of the greed must be established if only to show its seriousness.

The North Arctic, according to the new issue of Time magazine had been determined to have thinned if not melted its ice. A route from North Canada to Asia via the Pacific was previously impassable by ships due to the presence of thick glaciers. But lately, these ice glaciers are not present anymore. This, in spite of the fact that the melting season is not done yet. For those who are worried about global warming and climate change, this new phenomenon of the ice melting considerably is a grave threat and therefore needed attention and urgent response. The ice glaciers must be protected. But the powerful nations have a different idea. Ecological changes and threats are not enough for them to stop going to the Arctic in order to do some explorations for oil or other possible resources. For them, it is an opportunity to acquire and conquer potential riches. Each country had planted their flag or identification thereby sending the message that they are present and should not be disturbed. In a way, they are saying to others to "back off!" This is very alarming and saddening. If more oil will be found there, a double whammy will occur. One, the thinning of the ice will result to a lot of ecological problems. Second, the finding of oil means more carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere. Greed is prevailing over safety. Greed is prevailing over the care for the earth, the only one we've got. People act as if they do not live in this planet! It will be good to see the height to which this greediness would reach its summit! Will I live to see it? He he he...am dreaming huh?

Money For God?

Our title seems like a no brainer. But in reality, it always happen. It is interesting how man had developed since time immemorial. Man had created a powerful instrument in "money". Money represents one's riches, power, capacity etc. Only rivalled by "time", money ranks the highest in most human being's life.

Our regard for money is almost boundless. No, it is not true that it is the root of all evil. It is the love of it or wrong use of it that makes it evil. By itself, money is nothing. When used well, according to the will of our Creator, it can bring us to salvation. But when used badly, it can bring us to damnation.

With money, we can buy different things for comfort like a house, a car, a cellphone, a watch etc. We can use money to get somebody or even marry somebody. With money comes a lot of power, prestige and fame. In order to have more money, weare willing to make sacrifices. We sacrifice our health for money. Ulcers, hyper tensions, worries are worth the money! Professionals are willing to sacrifice their principles for money. Doctors would recommend procedures or medicines that are not necessary for a rich willing patient for greater professional fees. A lawyer is willing to defend or even free a guilty client for a fat legal fee. Government officials are willing to compromise their positions in exchange for money. Consciences are divided in order to accommodate an indecent proposal in exchange for money. Some are willing to kill and be killed for money. Etc. Etc. Etc.

The question of faith is this; for all of these sacrifices and offering of time and person to acquire money, are we willing to do the same for God? Are we willing to sacrifice our lives for love and faith in God? Are we willing to spend time for God the way we spend time to earn more money? Can God be as important as our regard for money? The choice is not really that easy after all.
No, it does not mean that we do not strive to earn money. Nor do we mean that money is evil. As I have said, it is the use of it that matters. The point is; does money serve us or do we serve it? Is it our slave or are we enslaved by it? In the Christian faith, God should have no rival.God is a jealous God. The first commandment is very clear, "You shall have no other God than Me!". God is first, everything comes second. When God is compromised, everything goes wrong! Yes, it should be God, but it must show in our lives. Our way of life must be guided by it. "You can not serve both God and mammon." One has to give way. The choice is ours!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

All Right Sir!

"All Right Sir!", is a cadet salutation that tells a PMAmistah” (classmate) that what a fellow cadet is saying is the absolute truth. The PMA honor code forbids cadets from lying, cheating or stealing, and does not approve of a cadet or an alumnus who tolerates violators. This is a very beautiful "code" especially among men whom we entrust our security. But are they being followed essentially? Who would know? How would we know? I am sure that there are those who submit to it wholeheartedly. But I am worried about those who do not. Twice, the situation had occurred in a public forum in our senate. Twice, "All right Sir!" had been delivered. Both situations involved retired generals who were graduates of the PMA. In the last, the general was reminded that it is between him and God, him and the Filipino people, him and his family, him and the senate, and him and his conscience. I sincerely hope and pray to God that it is really alright, sir! Otherwise, the "code" had been corrupted and abused. Where would that leave the cadets? Where would that leave the Ayer's? It is now in the hands of the Ayer's themselves.


Many today, are very worried about the explosion of population. But, this is really more of a myth than a reality. A city dweller can easily be deceived of its reality because of what he sees and experienced. In the city, one can easily see so many people at different times of day. In the city, one can easily experience the difficulty of obtaining services or goods due to their scarcity or high cost. But that is only in the city. Outside the city, in the outskirts, these are less seen and experienced. The difficulty is more of the availability and obtain ability of these services or goods.

First, I believe that the world will never be small for everybody even without population control. Second, the world is so full of potential that it can sustain any food or other life sustenance's we will need in our lifetime. I believe this because of my faith in God. God is not that stupid that He would allow us to pro-create and not allow provisions for it. Proof to this is the "dumping" method countries and companies are doing.
The method of dumping is the wasting or throwing of goods/foods in order to maintain the supply in the market. There is an economic principle that states, " More supply, less demand. More demand, less supply." In connection with this, "More supply, lower. Less supply, higher cost." That is why if we have more produce, the prevailing price will be lower and it might result to the lost for the producers. The solution there would be to "dump" the excess products, thereby maintaining the scarcity of the supply and making the cost higher. In other words, for the sake of cost, countries and companies are willing to "dump".
This is morally wrong. As the saying goes, "Many are dying hungry in this world!" The painful truth about is that they are dying not because there is no food, but because it is not made available. There are places when there is too much food to the point that they are either given to animals or thrown away. And there are places when there is scarcity of food that they cost very high and people are dying!
Rather, let us dump our greed, Let us dump our lack of concern. Let us dump our selfishness. And let us dump our divisions. We are not only citizens of our country, but more importantly, we are citizens of this world.

What Do We Need To Change?

No doubt, all of us recognize the need to change. Not only is our country is in a really bad condition, but the fate of the faithful is very much wanting. We are wanting in Christian values. We are wanting in discipline. We are wanting in the sense of sin. We are wanting in inspiration. We are wanting in enthusiasm. We are wanting in concern. We can go on and on and we can name as many things as we can. What do we need to change? What would it take us to finally make a serious response to our situation? What should happen in order for us to stop what we are doing and instead respond to the more urgent need for change?
Honestly, I do not want to speculate an answer. For me, we do not have to wait for something to happen. What is happening right now is enough for us to pause and think of ways to act on the concern at hand. Rather than arguing about what or why all of these are happening, we must try to find ways to address them and, beggingly, act on these ways. My fear is that when all of these had mothballed to a great degree, there is nothing more we could do. All we could do is to just stare at the devastation that is slowly coming towards us. Because, nothing can be done, nothing can stop them.
As a believer, my fear is salvific rather than secular in nature. While it is true that the secular and the sacred are very much related and intertwined, the concern on the sacred gives a better perspective and basis for change. The eternal inspires and motivates more than the temporal. Whatever happens to this world maybe hard to reverse. But what happens to my soul, my fate, may still be addressed. The change should therefore begin with the hearts of men more than the hurts of men. There must be a change in men than a change of men.
Let us therefore begin change. And let us begin with ourselves!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Human Beings Or Animals?

Not once had I heard a statement about some people preferring to take care of animals/pets over fellow human beings. They claim that these animals/pets give them joy and less problems. While a fellow human being, whether a friend, relative, or a beggar, would give more complications. On a certain level, it is true. It is because human beings think and have preferences and wants. Many would of course prefer not to be contradicted or challenged. Most animals, especially trained ones would post no problems on its master. A human being is different because he can think, analyze, understand and make decisions on his own. Therefore, it is hard for him to have a master. Human beings usually relate on equal footing and recognizes a master on a limited level.
But the question of the human being as not only body but also a soul can not be neglected or forgotten. It determines the greatest, if not incomparable, difference from animals and other creatures. This is the reason why as far as God is concerned, every human being is precious. No human being is sacrificed or left. When Jesus died on the cross, He died for all! And remember, when He died for all, we were still sinners!
In other words, no matter what, human beings are much much more important over other creatures. The worst human being is better than the best animal or other creatures. Whatever we do for any human beings has relevance on our salvation while to other creatures, the most it will give is relevance to life here on earth.

Man Or Animals?

Not once had I heard a statement about some people preferring animals over fellow human beings. I had seen so many women with dogs or cats giving the best of care to them. I even saw one kissing her pet cat on the lips! I believe these pets are being fed well, given as much comfort as possible, provided with health care and other available ways to better treat them. I am sure many had sen it as a very good gesture. Extending love to animals is really a tribute man.
However, placing this side by side with how many people/men/women are dying of hunger, wanting of health care, working very hard to earn a some money, physically tortured and even killed brutally, and victims of injustice, one would think whether we are truly loving and caring. Why are animals cared and loved more than men and women who are in need? Are animals more important than men? Maybe to some or on some valid grounds. But if we are to look at it in the ultimate and their essences, human beings are way way more important than any animal in the world. Human beings have souls. They are God's greatest creation. Animals were made in the service of men. Men are their masters. Any master is always greater and more important than any servant or, in this case, any animal. You may dress up, clean, groom, and make them fragrant, but they would never never be at par with the status of man. While some men act like animals at times, nevertheless, human beings are still supreme over them
Before God, who do you say is more important, man or animal?

Are You Precious?

We can not help but ask why some people commit suicide? Or why some people look so lowly of themselves. In most cases, the standard is how much money, power, fame, or beauty they possess. The world had set these as the standards for an important and meaningful life. This situation is heartbreaking and depressing for a Christian. In the eyes of the Christian faith, human beings are very precious to God.

1. When God created everything, man was created last. Not because it was an afterthought, but to show his importance. When God created the trees, animals, seas, rivers, mountains, clouds, light etc, He said afterwards that it was good. But after He created man, He said, "Very good!".
2. When man was created, He made man different and above all creation. Man was created in the image and likeness of God. Man was given a soul so that he is in need of salvation. He was given charge of all creation. He became mans partner in the care for creation.
3. A human being is formed by the union of the egg cell from a woman and a sperm from a man. But we know that a woman only produces one egg at a time and the man offers thousands of sperms. As God meant it to be, only one sperm would get to unite with the lone egg cell. The other sperms would die. It is therefore very possible that we would not have been born. But it was God who chose us. We are preferred among others who could have been born instead of us.
4. Much more, even if we sin, God is willing to welcome as back if we repent. He accepted back the adulterous woman. He entrusted to Peter the Church even if Peter denied Him three times. Magdalene, a prostitute became on of His disciples. And Paul,a blasphemer and arrogant Jew who and killed many Christians became an apostle. And many more!

It is easy to make decisions for our life. But we have to be reminded that the life we have received is a gift. It has a purpose. Out of gratitude, the least we could do is to live it in accordance with our Creator. Let us give importance to our lives. Let us give importance to the lives of others.