Quotations:

I am with you always until the end of this world - Jesus (Matthew 28:20).

Preach the Word in season and out of season reproving, rebuking or advising always with patience and providing instructions (2 Timothy 4:2).

Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you (Luke 1:30).

Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly. - G. K. Chesterton

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

A CHRISTIAN'S WAY TO REDUCE STRESS (author unknown)

An Angel says, "Never borrow from the future. If you worry about what may happen tomorrow and it doesn't happen, you have worried in vain.Even if it does happen, you have to worry twice."


1. Pray


2. Go to bed on time.


3. Get up on time so you can start the day unrushed.


4. Say No to projects that won't fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health.


5. Delegate tasks to capable others.


6. Simplify and unclutter your life.


7. Less is more.. (Although one is often not enough, two are often to many.)


8. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.


9. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects overtime; don't lump the hard things all together.


10. Take one day at a time.


11. Separate worries from concerns. If a situation is a concern, findout what God would have you do and let go of the anxiety. If you can't do anything about a situation, forget it.


12. Live within your budget; don't use credit cards for ordinary purchases.


13 . Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra housekey buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.


14. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can preventan enormous amount of trouble.


15. Do something for the Kid in You everyday.


16. Carry a Bible with you to read while waiting in line.


17. Get enough rest.


18. Eat right.


19. Get organized so everything has its place.


20. Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality of life.


21. Write down thoughts and inspirations.


22. Every day, find time to be alone.


23. Having problems? Talk to God on the spot.. Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don't wait until it's time to go to bed to try and pray.


24. Make friends with Godly people.


25. Keep a folder of favorite scriptures on hand.


26. Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good "Thank you Jesus."


27. Laugh.


28. Laugh some more!


29. Take your work seriously, but not yourself at all.


30. Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can).


31. Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most).


32. Sit on your ego.


33. Talk less; listen more.


34. Slow down.


35. Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the universe.


36 . Every night before bed, think of one thing you're grateful for that you've never been grateful for before.


37. Attend Holy Mass if possible everyday or during Sundays.


GOD HAS A WAY OF TURNING THINGS AROUND FOR YOU. "If God is for us, who can be against us?"(Romans 8:31)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Life begins at 40?

Today, December 26 is my 40th birthday. How time flies I’m already 40, it’s just like yesterday when I was studying and working at the same time to earn my college degrees and my post graduate study. It was as if yesterday when I was dreaming of becoming rich, owning a very nice car and having a big house but I remain to be materially marginalized. It was as if yesterday when I had my countless conversations with my father who died thirteen years ago; it was as if yesterday when I married my beautiful wife but that was almost twelve (12) years ago and it was as if yesterday when we were deputized by our Bishop to officially become Extra- Ordinary Ministers of the Holy Communion. There’s a whole lot of: “as if yesterdays” memories that seems still within my reach but it’s beyond me already. I just have to look back and relish those memories once in a while.

I’m in the irreversible present and I’m forty (40), they say: “life begins at forty” I don’t know who coined this quote that our life begins at forty. I beg to disagree, life doesn’t begin at forty. Life begins when we were freed from the doctrine of Original Sin and we officially become a member of the Universal Church. That’s our Baptismal date but the funny thing is: we remember our birthday but doesn’t know our Baptismal date.

Life begins when we become aware of our responsibilities towards our family, our fellowmen and God. Responsibilities that reminds us that we don’t live for our own self-centered sake.

Life begins at forty? I beg to completely disagree!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The fragility of our lives...


The fragility of our lives...
by: Marino J. Dasmarinas

Last night our Parish secretary informed me that I have a scheduled funeral blessing; I said OK I’ll go.
So I went there, upon finding the place I introduced myself to the relatively young wife then I said: “I will now bless him please gather all the relatives.” As I was saying the blessings and prayers I noticed that the wife was crying profusely.
After I was through, I asked her: “what was the cause of death of your husband and how old is he?” She said: “His fifthly (50) years old and his death is totally unexpected.” He just arrived from work then after a few minutes of rest in the sofa he suddenly died. ... After our short conversation I told her:  “I have to go now” and she said: “Thank you very much” I said in return: “You’re welcome and pray for his soul’s eternal repose.”
As I was walking away from their house, I can’t help but reflect on the fragility of our lives, that it can be taken away from us any time and any place. As I glance back at their house, I told myself maybe she was seriously crying because, there were loving words left unsaid, there were loving embraces left undone and there were loving moments left to pass them by. ...
As an afterthought: Express your love to your relatives and don’t hold back on doing good to everyone.
Remember the fragility of our lives…

Saturday, December 1, 2007

My reflection for 1st Sunday of Advent Matthew 24:37-44 (Dec.2, 07)

Matthew 24:37-44

"For as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come."


My reflection:

The first Sunday of Advent ushers a new year in the in the church’s Liturgical calendar. Advent means “Coming” and this is the time wherein all Catholics prepare for the Birth of our savior Jesus.

Last Thursday (Nov 29) I submitted myself to the Sacrament of Confession/Reconciliation this is my way of preparing myself for the coming of Jesus. When we submit ourselves to this Sacraments we are reconciled with God, we are cleansed from our sins, we are freed from any guilt of conscience and we signify our humility and need for God’s mercy.

If there is an occasion in our house and we are expecting visitors, what we do is we thoroughly clean our house for it to be worthy in the eyes of our guests. However if we are not expecting anyone to visit us we are back to our normal complacent selves that’s why when there’s an unexpected guest we normally panic on how to arrange things for them.

The gospel talks about preparation for God’s coming, unfortunately on the first part of the Gospel the people during Noah’s time failed to prepare. They were so busy with worldly things until God’s judgment came and they were wiped out on the face of the earth. (Genesis 7:22) Only Noah and his companions survived because they were the select few worthy in God’s eyes.

The Gospel calls us to “Stay awake,” to be prepared so that if the Son of Man will come we are ready. How do we prepare for the birth of Jesus? Is it centered towards materials things (buying of gifts, decorating our house, thinking of our menu for Christmas and New Year) nothings wrong with that. However, God wants us also to undergo a much deeper and meaningful preparation for his forthcoming birth. It is a preparation bereft of worldly things.

For me, a worthy preparation for Advent is to submit ourselves to the Sacrament of Confession/Reconciliation.
When was your last confession?

Monday, November 26, 2007

A certain man and his three friends.

There is an old Jewish story which goes like this. A certain man had three friends.


He liked two of them; but had little use for the third. One day he was ordered to appear in court. Alarmed, he looked around for someone to defend him. He immediately thought of his two favorite friends.


One said, "No way! I'm not going into any court." The second one said, "I'll go as far as the king's gate but no farther."


In despair the man then asked his least-loved friend for help. He said, "Sure, I'll come." And he did come, and he defended the man so well that he won his case.


Jewish rabbis go on to explain the story like this: Every person has three friends when Death calls and he must appear before his Creator. The friend he loves most is money; but it cannot go with him a single step.


The second friend is his circle of relatives and neighbors. They can only accompany him to the grave side. In no way can they defend him before the Judge.


His third friend, whom he neither likes nor esteems, is the only one that accompanies him to the judge and wins his case.


That friend is his list of good deeds done during his lifetime. ... (Jacob Braude)

Friday, November 23, 2007

My Reflection on the 34th Sunday Gospel: Luke 23:35-43 Feast of Christ the King, Nov. 25, 07


My reflection:
This Gospel reading had been intensely put to life in the movie The Passion of the Christ by Mel Gibson. The whole movie in fact shows the intense passion of Jesus, it started while Jesus was praying in the garden of Gethsemane. “After withdrawing about a stone's throw from them and kneeling, he prayed, saying, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done." And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him. He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground. (Luke 22:42-44). The movie ended with his crucifixion and eventual resurrection.

This Sunday we are at the end of the church’s calendar and we are celebrating the feast of Christ the King. The Gospel truly depicts the heavenly kingship of Jesus a kingship that is at odds with our own worldly idea. Jesus’ kingship is a kingship of Obedience, of Humility, of Servanthood and of Suffering and Sacrifice for the salvation of all humanity. He did not mind the anguish and humiliation; He was so focused with his mission.

On the latter part of the Gospel, were the two thieves: one was unrepentant and the other one was full of remorse and humility that he asked Jesus to remember him when He comes to his kingdom. And Jesus did not fail him; He brought along the repentant thief to His paradise.

Brothers and sisters discussing from experience, it’s not really easy to follow the kingship of Jesus it’s full of sacrifice and trials but it’s during this sacrifices and trials that we will feel His abiding presence in our life and beyond.

Jesus is continuously inviting us to follow His kingship. “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

Are you willing to respond?

Monday, November 12, 2007

My narrative on the last two days of my Aunt: Gilda D. Altamia (Feb 1, 1934-Nov. 9, 2007)


(Mila, Cynthia Villar, Gem & Eden)

Last Friday (Nov. 9) Auntie Gilda succumbed to her lingering ailment, she triumphantly defeated her oppressive sickness. I was there and I saw her slow yet painful last two days here in this material world that we presently belong.

It was last Thursday (November 8) when I first saw her in the Hospital. Her two sisters ( Mila and Eden) were watching over her. I was with my siblings (Grace, Jun-jun, Darwin, and Nino) Upon seeing her I knew that it’s just a matter of time before she departs to the great beyond, she was very thin and her breathing was very deep, her eyes were barely opened. There were three nurses with her they were frantically trying to find a vein where they can insert a needle to facilitate the passage of medicines to her body. They tried it on her hands, they tried it on her feet to no avail. We therefore asked: “What’s the problem?” they told us that they can’t locate a vein. They went out for about thirty minutes then they were at it again trying to locate a vein, they were successful this time.

Afterwards, I said, "Hi auntie" while slowly massaging her forehead, it was a very painful sight to see for a woman who was always full of life. To keep the mood light I said to her, “You’ll get well.” And she slowly nodded as if saying yes I will get well.

Every now and then she would be restless she would move side to side then she would slowly motion that she wants to be seated. So we lift her up after that she would lie-down again. It was her routine for the day. ...
Sensing that she might go anytime we called  a priest again to give her the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. After a few hours a priest who was her personal friend arrived and she was given the Sacrament.

Later in the afternoon her doctor told us that she was slowly being poisoned by her blood and it results in her constant unguarded movements. After the doctor left she motioned again to be seated. This time it was auntie Mila who lovingly helped her to be seated and while seated Mila embraced her while saying: “We love you, do you love us?” And she would groan as if saying: Yes I also love you all. I lost count of that beautiful and touching exchange of loving words and groans. I was looking at them and I saw a very moving sight of Agape Love.

Around 7:00 pm her doctors came again and frankly told us that  she needed to be put on a breathing machine (ventilator) or she would probably die anytime. We huddled for a brief moment and said, do whatever it takes to extend her life. After a while the machine was brought in and we were politely told to go out of the room first so that they can do the procedure.

After about 30 minutes we were told that the ventilator had already been attached and we can go inside now. So we went inside and saw her with all these tubes attached to her, this time she was already unresponsive to our whispers to our urgings: I think she was already in a comatose state at that time. 
(Tata Orcine, Cheng, Elsa, & Eden)
Afterwards auntie Gilda’s grandchildren and daughter in-law came also. Then after a few minutes her daughter (Gemma) arrived from Singapore. Here, I again saw a moving and heart-rending sight. Gemma was deeply crying while lovingly caressing her Mama and saying. “Mama you told me we would still talk. You told me that you would wait for me.” While motionless I suddenly saw tears flowing out of my aunt’s eyes as if telling her that she’s hearing her cries and pleas. Then she started to very slowly move her hands towards her mouth as if trying to remove the ventilator so that she can talk. We moderately blocked her hand and whispered to her not to remove the tube. After a while her son (Boyet) called and the cell phone was put onto her ear and I think she was hearing him because tears started to slowly flow from her eyes again.
Around 12:30 am we went home…

The next day we were there again we arrived around 5:30 pm and it was the last one and a half hours that I would be seeing her breathing. After staying out of the room for about 15 minutes. I went inside and also quickly went outside to call our relatives then we closed the door and I know with the urgings of the Holy Spirit I said, “Let us all stand and Pray.” We made the sign of the cross and we Prayed the Our Father (the Prayer that Jesus told us to Pray, Matthew 6:9-15) with three Hail Mary and One Glory be then I followed it up with a spontaneous prayer lifting, commending and entrusting her to God while my relatives were saying Yes Lord and Amen. After the Prayers were said I tenderly caressed her forehead while softly saying: Go towards the light, follow Jesus, follow the Holy Spirit, and follow God. Let go now, I repeated this words a couple of times.

(Cynthia Villar, Mila & Elsa)

After which I went out of the room while my relatives were praying the Rosary. When they were through I went inside again with a Prayer booklet (that I got from the lobby where the image of Mama Mary was located, I Prayed to Mama Mary to take care of my Aunt’s journey towards heaven) then we made the sign of the Cross and I read the Prayers and the litanies. My Aunt was still breathing it was soft and very slow and the line on the screen that monitors her heartbeat was near flat already.
I went out of the room again and subsequently went inside again and it happened, I saw her last grasp for breath the line on the indicator was already flat. I softly touched her still warm body while saying my silent prayer for her and I closed her eyes, kissed her on the forehead and I slowly walked towards the door: my eyes welling up with tears. …

Death is always a good wake-up call for all of us who are still in this temporary journey. It is a reminder that we will pass this process too. There’s no exception: rich or poor, learned or not.

To me, life is as simple as the rising and setting of the Sun, in the morning we slowly see the Sun beautifully rising and late in the afternoon we see it magnificently setting as well. It's like a song also it has its beginning and eventual ending, it’s like the rain it pours and after a while its pouring ends.

(Nino, Mila, Boyet & Cynthia Villar)
That’s our life too; we have our beginning and eventual ending. What is important while we are still actively here in this journey is we know who Jesus is, we have an intimate relationship with HIM.

We can always get intimate with Jesus through the Holy Mass. In the Mass the words of God are read in the Liturgy of the Word and Jesus is made present in the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Upon consecration of the Priest who acts in Persona Christi, (in the Person of Christ) the ordinary bread and wine become the Body and blood of Christ. In the Mass the scene in the Last Supper is repeated again, when on the night before his crucifixion, Jesus instituted the Eucharist and that is the first Mass.

It is also important that we read the Bible specially the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John because in those Gospels we will get to have and intimate and personal knowledge of who really is Jesus.

If we know Jesus we need not fear death because death is the final hurdle to be in heaven with the Angels, with the Saints and with Mama Mary.

And finally to be in the permanent company with our Triune God.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace.  Amen.

Farewell to you my Dear auntie...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Images and magnificent work of art inside Catholic Churches does it have basis in the Bible?

If we go inside Catholic Churches be it here in the Philippines or in any parts of the world. We will notice that it has magnificent structures, artworks and various kinds of images most notably the images of Saints, Mary and Jesus. Is this based in the Bible?

Those who are uninitiated in the Catholic faith would say that it doesn’t have any basis in the Bible. In fact some Christians sects criticizes Catholics for having this images. And they sometimes use this as a point of argument to sow intrigue among Catholics so that they will be able to convince some Catholics to leave the faith and eventually join them.

Here’s the real score: Images and artworks in the Catholic Church has its foundation in the Bible in the following passages:

From Mount Hor they set out on the Red Sea road, to by-pass the land of Edom. But with their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained against God and Moses, "Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!" In punishment the LORD sent among the people saraph serpents, which bit the people so that many of them died. Then the people came to Moses and said, "We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you. Pray the LORD to take the serpents from us." So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses, "Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and if anyone who has been bitten looks at it, he will recover." Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he recovered. Numbers 21:4-9

For when the dire venom of beasts came upon them and they were dying from the bite of crooked serpents, your anger endured not to the end. But as a warning, for a short time they were terrorized, though they had a sign of salvation, to remind them of the precept of your law. For he who turned toward it was saved, not by what he saw, but by you, the savior of all. And by this also you convinced our foes that you are he who delivers from all evil. For the bites of locusts and of flies slew them, and no remedy was found to save their lives because they deserved to be punished by such means; But not even the fangs of poisonous reptiles overcame your sons, for your mercy brought the antidote to heal them. For as a reminder of your injunctions, they were stung, and swiftly they were saved, Lest they should fall into deep forgetfulness and become unresponsive to your beneficence. For indeed, neither herb nor application cured them, but your all-healing word, O LORD! For you have dominion over life and death; you lead down to the gates of the nether world, and lead back. Man, however, slays in his malice, but when the spirit has come away, it does not return, nor can he bring back the soul once it is confined. Wisdom 16:5-14

You shall make an ark of acacia wood, two and a half cubits long, one and a half cubits wide, and one and a half cubits high. Plate it inside and outside with pure gold, and put a molding of gold around the top of it. Cast four gold rings and fasten them on the four supports of the ark, two rings on one side and two on the opposite side. Then make poles of acacia wood and plate them with gold. These poles you are to put through the rings on the sides of the ark, for carrying it; they must remain in the rings of the ark and never be withdrawn. In the ark you are to put the commandments which I will give you. "You shall then make a propitiatory of pure gold, two cubits and a half long, and one and a half cubits wide. Make two cherubim of beaten gold for the two ends of the propitiatory, fastening them so that one cherub springs direct from each end. The cherubim shall have their wings spread out above, covering the propitiatory with them; they shall be turned toward each other, but with their faces looking toward the propitiatory. This propitiatory you shall then place on top of the ark. In the ark itself you are to put the commandments which I will give you. There I will meet you and there, from above the propitiatory, between the two cherubim on the ark of the commandments, I will tell you all the commands that I wish you to give the Israelites. Exodus 25:10-22

In the sanctuary were two cherubim, each ten cubits high, made of olive wood. Each wing of a cherub measured five cubits so that the space from wing tip to wing tip of each was ten cubits. The cherubim were identical in size and shape and each was exactly ten cubits high. The cherubim were placed in the inmost part of the temple, with their wings spread wide, so that one wing of each cherub touched a side wall while the other wing, pointing toward the middle of the room, touched the corresponding wing of the second cherub. The cherubim, too, were overlaid with gold. The walls on all sides of both the inner and the outer rooms had carved figures of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers. The floor of both the inner and the outer rooms was overlaid with gold. 1 kings 6:23-28

The sea was then cast; it was made with a circular rim, and measured ten cubits across, five in height, and thirty in circumference. Under the brim, gourds encircled it, ten to the cubit all the way around; the gourds were in two rows and were cast in one mold with the sea. This rested on twelve oxen, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south, and three facing east, with their haunches all toward the center, where the sea was set upon0 them. It was a handbreadth thick, and its brim resembled that of a cup, being lily-shaped. Its capacity was two thousand measures. 1 kings 7:23-26

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My Reflection on the 30th Sunday Gospel: Luke 18:9-14, Oct. 28, 07

My reflection:
Aside from Jesus there are two main characters in this Gospel: the Pharisee who is an educated believer, he seriously observe and teaches God’s law and the Tax collector he is known to be greedy, corrupt and sinful. They both went to the temple to pray to the same God.

The Pharisee was self-righteous he claims that he was not greedy, unjust, adulterous. He was so sure of his goodness, holiness and maybe of his own salvation he even despised the tax collector.

There was also this repentant sinner (tax collector) who did not even dared to raise his eyes to heaven. He was remorsefully beating his breast and keeps on humbly asking God for forgiveness.

Jesus said: “the tax collector went home at peace with God.” and the Pharisee? He did not gain any favor from God because he was self-righteous and proud.

This Gospel is a good reminder for us all who are self-righteous, who are proud. This is also for those who look down on his fellowmen because he is rich and learned. You are no different from the Pharisee.

God looked kindly on the tax collector because he has the greatest virtue called HUMILITY.

Who are you before God’s eyes? Are you the Pharisee or the humble and repentant tax collector?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Lesson of the Coffee bean.




THE LESSON OF THE COFFEE BEAN

Author Unknown


A daughter complained to her father about how hard things were farher. "As soon as I solve one problem," she said, "another one comes up. I'm tired of struggling."


Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen where he filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to aboil. In one he placed carrots, in the second, eggs, and in the last,ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil, without saying a word.


The daughter impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. After awhile, he went over and turned off the burners. He fished out the carrots and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them a bowl. He poured the coffee into a bowl. Turning to her heasked, "Darling, what do you see?"


"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.


He brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. She smiled, as she tasted its rich flavor.


She asked, "What does it mean, Father?" He explained that each of them had faced the same adversity or problem -- boiling water -- but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.


The egg was fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside hardened.


The ground coffee beans were unique, however. By being in the boiling water, they changed the water.


He asked his daughter, "When adversity or problems knocks on your door, which are you?"

Monday, October 22, 2007

A very good poem for All Souls Day (Nov.2)


When I'm Gone

by: Lyman Hancock



When I’ve come to the end of my journey

And I have traveled my very last mile

Forget if you can that I’ve frowned

Remember only my smile...



Forgive unkind words I have spoken

Remember some good I have done

Forget I ever had heartache

And remember only our fun...



Forget that I've stumbled and fumbled

And sometimes fell by the way

Remember: I fought some hard battles

But had you at the close of my day...



Do not grieve for my going

I would not have you sad this day

But in time gather some flowers

And remember the place where I lay...



Perhaps in the shade of evening

When the sun paints the sky in the West

Come stand a few moments above me

Remembering only the best...


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Where is your destination?

Last Monday we went to the house of an Extra-Ordinary Minister who just died to attend Mass for his soul. During the Homily our Parish Priest said, “Death is also a celebration of birth, it is also a time to rejoice.” At first I wasn’t able to reconcile what he said. How can death be a cause of celebration of birth? As he was elaborating on his homily it became clearer that indeed death is a celebration of birth. For when we die we are also born to the next life which is everlasting.

The church has taught us that there’s: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell. Heaven is the destiny of those who lived their lives worthy in God’s eyes. Purgatory are for those souls who needs further purification from the sins that they have committed it can be found in the bible in 2 Maccabees 12:46. Unless they are purified they would not be worthy in God’s presence. The church teaches that such individuals can be helped by our prayers. Hell is reserve for individuals who live unworthy lives.

Is there really Heaven? Yes there is, in the Bible it is quoted in Luke 23:43, Revelations 2:7 there are a lot more Bible verses that states the reality of heaven. Can there be heaven while we are still living here on earth? Yes, for so long as we are close to God and we follow all of his commands we will be able to taste heaven here on earth.

Is there really Hell? Of course there is, it is also quoted in Luke 16:23-28 and in other passages in the bible. Is there Hell on earth? Yes!

Eventually we will die, this is an inescapable truth, we will have to leave this material world whether we like it or not.

Where is your destination?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

My reflection on the 22nd Sunday Gospel: Luke 14:1, 7-14, Sept.2, 2007


Gospel: Luke 14:1,7-14, On a Sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table. When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, Give your place to this man,’ and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place. Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, My friend, move up to a higher position.’ Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted. Then he said to the host who invited him, When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind: blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.

My reflection:
Humility

While dining at the home of one of the leading Pharisees Jesus noticed how those invited were choosing the places of honor at the table, the seats for those who are rich and powerful. Everyone wanted to be seated there! So he said to them. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor.” His admonition was a sharp rebuke to those who wanted to be seen as prominent, who wanted to flaunt their power and money, who always want to boast of the things that they do.

From the time of Jesus up to now, nothing has changed; these boastful characters are still prevalent today. Some of these characters are in fact present in the various church ministries, in government, in various charitable organizations. They always want to advertise the many things that they are doing for the church and for the poor. They want to brag to the whole world about the many humanitarian endeavors that they’re doing.

Closely looking at ourselves, oftentimes we also are guilty of trumpeting our knowledge, our accomplishment, our prominence, our supremacy and wealth.

What Jesus is telling us in the gospel is: we should not be overly concerned of the impression that we will get from others. We should not boast, we should just do things silently without selfish or personal motives. That is HUMILITY!

We better ask ourselves, do we have the virtue of HUMILITY?

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Organization of the Roman Catholic Church, as I know it.

The Roman Catholic Church is a Hierarchical religious organization, the present head of the more than one billion Roman Catholics in the whole world is the bishop of Rome, Pope Benedict XVI (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) he is the 265th successor to Saint Peter,“Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah. For flesh and blood have not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth, will be loosed in heaven” (Mt 16:17-19). This passage in the Bible is the basis of the foundation of the Roman Catholic Church.

The church is government in itself, in fact if we will carefully study its organizational structure we can dare say that all of the management functions that we are using right now be it in government or private organizations has its basis in the church. The functions of Leadership, Supervision, Delegation, controlling, Planning and many other organizational principles traces its roots in the church.

The Pope being the Head of the church can be likened to a president of an independent nation. In fact the Vatican where the Pope resides is a Nation and he heads that nation. But unlike a president whose power and influence is confined to limited territory. The Popes sphere of power and influence is not limited in the Vatican. It extends worldwide. When there is a Roman Catholic Parish/Church there extends also the power of the Pope.

The Bishops somewhat functions like the Governors of a civil government because like the governors who heads a certain province or state. The Bishops also heads a certain territory/province or state and it is called Diocese.

The Diocesan Priest territory is called a Parish and the Parish council helps the Priest run the Parish. He is under the guidance and supervision of the Bishop of the diocese. The Parish Priest has similar functions like the Mayors of a City or Municipality.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

7. Anointing of the Sick

In our temporary journey in this world, sickness, can lead to suffering, self-importance, sometimes even hopelessness and revolt against God. It can also make us more mature, helping us determine what is not essential in life such as material things. Very often illness provokes a search for God and a return to him.

This sacred anointing of the sick was instituted by Christ our Lord as a true and proper sacrament of the New Testament. It is alluded to indeed by Mark, but is recommended to the faithful and promulgated by James the apostle and brother of the Lord. (Mark 6:13; James 5:14-15)

Jesus compassion toward the sick and his many healings of every kind of sickness shows that he has come to heal our whole being, soul and body; he is the physician the sick have need of. (Mark 2:17).His compassion toward all who suffer goes so far that he identifies himself with them: "I was sick and you visited me.(Matthew 25:36) His preferential love for the sick has not ceased through the centuries to draw the very special attention of Christians toward all those who suffer in body and soul. It is the source of determined efforts to comfort them.

Often Jesus asks the sick to believe (Mark 5:34, 36; 9:23). He makes use of signs to heal, spittle and the laying on of hands, (Mark 7:32-36; 8:22-25) mud and washing, (John 9:6-7). The sick try to touch him, "for power came forth from him and healed them all." (Luke 6:19, Mark 1:41, 3:10, 6:56). And so in the sacraments Christ continues to "touch" us in order to heal us.

The Holy Spirit gives to some a special charism of healing, (1st Corinthians 12:9, 28, 30) so as to make present the power of the grace of the risen Lord. However, even the most intense prayers do not always obtain the healing of all sickness. Thus St. Paul must learn from the Lord that "my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness," and that the sufferings to be endured can mean that "in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his Body, that is, the Church."(2nd Corinthians 12:9; Col 1:24.)

Only Bishops and Priests are ministers of the Anointing of the Sick. It is their duty to educate Catholics on the benefits of this sacrament. Those who know about this sacrament should encourage the sick to call for a Priest to receive this sacrament. The sick should prepare himself to receive it with good disposition through their bishop or Priest.

In addition to the Anointing of the Sick, the Church offers those who are about to leave this life the Eucharist as Viaticum, Communion in the body and blood of Christ. According to the words of Jesus: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:54). The Eucharist is the sacrament of passing over from death to life, from this world to the Father. (John 13:1)

The special grace of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick has as its effects:

· The uniting of the sick person to the passion of Christ, for his own good and that of the whole church.
· The strengthening, peace, and courage to endure in a Christian manner the sufferings of illness or old age.
· The forgiveness of sins, if the sick person was not able to obtain it through the sacrament of Confession.
· The restoration of health, if it is conducive to the salvation of his soul.
· The preparation for passing over to eternal life.

Anointing of the Sick is the last sacrament. To know more about each sacrament I encourage you to read the Catechism of the Church.



Wednesday, August 15, 2007

6. The Sacrament of Matrimony/Marriage

St. Paul said: "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church." (Ephesians 5:25).

The Bible begins with the creation of man and woman in the image and likeness of God and concludes with a vision of "the wedding-feast of the Lamb." (Genesis 1:26-27).It says that man and woman were created for one another, "It is not good that the man should be alone." (Genesis 2:18) . The woman, "flesh of his flesh," his equal, his nearest in all things, is given to him by God as a "helpmate" she thus represents God from whom comes our help (Genesis 2:18-25) "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and he marries his wife, and they become one flesh." The Lord himself shows that this signifies an unbreakable union of their two lives by recalling what the plan of the Creator had been in the beginning: "So they are no longer two, but one flesh.” (Matthew 19:6)
The first miracle of Jesus was during a wedding feast at Cana, (John 2:1-10) The Church gives great importance to Jesus' presence at the wedding at Cana. It is the confirmation of the goodness of marriage and the proclamation that thereon marriage will be an effective sign of Christ's presence.

Husband and Wife are called to grow continually in their communion through day-to-day fidelity to their marriage promise of total mutual self-giving." This human communion is confirmed, purified, and completed by communion in Jesus Christ, given through the sacrament of Matrimony. It is deepened by lives of the common faith and by the body of Christ received together.

This is just a very short essay, the responsibility to discover more is within us.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

5. The Sacrament of Holy Orders

The Sacrament of Holy Orders is the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles that continues to be exercised in the Church today. It is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. It includes three degrees: Episcopate (Bishops), Presbyterate (Priests) , and Diaconate (Deacons).The word order is an established civil body, especially a governing body.

Integration into one of these bodies in the Church was accomplished by a rite called ordination, a religious and liturgical act which has a consecration, a blessing or a sacrament. The word "ordination" is reserved for the sacramental act which integrates a man into the order of bishops, priests, or deacons, and goes beyond a simple election, designation or delegation. For it confers a gift of the Holy Spirit which can come only from Christ himself through his Church. The laying on of hands by the bishop, with the consecrating prayer, constitutes the visible sign of ordination.

The priests are appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. (Hebrews 5:1; Exodus 29:1-30; Leviticus 8.)

Everything that the priesthood of the Old Testament proclamation finds its fulfillment in Christ Jesus, the "one mediator between God and men." (1st. Timothy 2:5)

Again, this is just a short essay the responsibility to know more is within us.

Monday, August 13, 2007

4. The Sacrament of Confession/Reconciliation


During confession, all sins must be recounted or recalled so that there will be complete healing on our soul. Without confession we will be forever be burdened by our conscience, from time to time we will feel the guilt of our sins and we will not be able to achieve peace of mind.

What if during confession we unintentionally forget to confess some of our sins. For so long as we humbly and truthfully submit ourselves to this sacrament, those sins that we forget to confess has been forgiven also. But let us say that we submitted ourselves to this sacrament then, for reasons known only to ourselves we willfully did not confess some of our sins. Those sins are not forgiven.

The spiritual effects of the sacrament of Confession are:
· reconciliation with God by which the penitent recovers grace;
· reconciliation with the Church;
· remission of the eternal punishment incurred by mortal sins;
· remission, at least in part, of temporal punishments resulting from sin;
· peace and serenity of conscience, and spiritual consolation;
· an increase of spiritual strength.

One of the many Biblical passages related to this Sacrament is this. "On the evening of that day, the first day of the week," Jesus showed himself to his apostles. "He breathed on them, and said to them: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained'" (John. 20:19, 22-23).

NB: The Apostles in Jesus time is now represented by Bishops and Priests by virtue of their ordination.

By his humanity Jesus has also lived to administer this Sacrament.

Again, this is a short essay the responsibility to know more is within us.









Saturday, August 11, 2007

3. The Sacrament of Confirmation


Last March 18, I received the Sacrament of Confirmation. It was conferred to me by our Bishop Luis Antonio G. Tagle DD. I remember that he recited this prayer "Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit." I said Amen! then he anointed me with chrism oil on my forehead. (see picture, the man whose hand is on my shoulder is our Parish Priest Leonardo R. Bagos, who was also my Godparent during the Confirmation)

Those who are anointed, share more completely with the mission of Jesus Christ and the fullness of the Holy Spirit with which he is filled so that their lives may give off "the aroma of Christ. (2nd Corinthians 2:15). By anointing the confirmand receives the "mark," the seal of the Holy Spirit, (Deuteronomy 32:34). A seal is a symbol of a person, a sign of personal authority. By way of confirmation he now becomes a soldier of Christ. Jesus himself declared that he was marked with his Father's seal, (John 6:27). This seal of the Holy Spirit marks our total belonging to Christ and his Church.


It is evident from this celebration that the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost. (John 20:22), (Acts 2:1-4).

Every baptized Catholic not yet confirmed can and should receive the sacrament of Confirmation.

Again, the responsibility to discover more is within us.

Friday, August 10, 2007

2.The Sacrament of Holy Communion

In other countries this is called Sacrament of the Eucharist, here in the Philippines this is known as the Sacrament of Holy Communion because by this Sacrament we unite ourselves with Jesus when we accept his Body in the form of the Consecrated Host.

The center of the Mass are the bread and wine that, by the words of Jesus and by the invocation of the Holy Spirit, it becomes Christ's Body and Blood. Faithful to the Lord's command the Church continues to do this in his memory. This is what he did on the eve of his Passion: "He took bread. . . ." "He took the cup filled with wine… (Luke 22:17-20).

During the second part of the Mass which is called the Liturgy of the Eucharist the Priest Consecrates the bread and wine. By virtue of consecration it now becomes the Body and Blood of Christ.

In the miracle of the loaves/bread, when Jesus said the blessing, breaks and distributes the loaves/bread through his disciples to feed the people shows the superabundance of this unique bread of his Eucharist. (Matthew 14:13-21) .

Who Can Receive Communion?

The Catholic Church has guidelines on how we should prepare ourselves to receive the Lord’s body during Communion. To receive Communion worthily, you must be in a state of grace, has observed the Eucharistic fast, (not eating anything for at least one hour before the Mass). Not living as husband & wife outside of the Sacrament of Matrimony (Marriage). Has been to confession for at least once a year or you must have been to confession since your last mortal sin. The Bible contains lists of mortal sins ( 1st Corinthians. 6:9–10 and Galatians. 5:19–21). For more information on mortal sin, see the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Again, what I have presented here is a short essay of the Sacrament of Communion. The responsibility to discover more is within us.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

1.The Sacrament of Baptism

Baptism is the gateway to the other Sacraments, we first have to be baptised before we receive the other sacraments. During Baptism we are freed from the doctrine of Original Sin and we officially become a member of the Church.

All the Old Covenant prophecies has its fulfilment in Christ Jesus. He begins his public life after having himself baptized by St. John the Baptist in the Jordan. (Matthew 3:13).

After his resurrection Christ gives this mission to his apostles which is represented now by Deacons, Priests & Bishops. "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:19-20).

Anyone who has not received the sacrament of Baptism is eligible to have it provided that the parents are willing to satisfy all the requirements of the church. The same rules applies for an adult who wants to be Baptised.

What I have presented here is a short essay of the Sacrament of Baptism. The responsibility to discover more is within us.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Seven Sacraments of The Roman Catholic Church

There are Seven (7) Sacraments inside the Catholic church, The first is the sacrament of Baptism, second is the sacrament of Communion third is the sacrament of confirmation fourth is the sacrament of the Holy Orders the fifth is the sacrament of Holy Matrimony (Marriage) the sixth is the sacrament of Confession and the seventh is the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.


What is the relevance of these sacraments in our life's journey? The sacraments are there to accompany us as we travel in this world, remember that the first sacrament is Baptism and the last sacrament is the anointing of the sick. Baptism is the start of our christian life and the Anointing of the Sick is the end. Majority of those who are being anointed are old and are near to the next life. But strictly speaking the Anointing of the sick is not only given when somebody is old and dying. anybody regardless of age who is gravely sick or set to undergo a major operation is eligible to this sacrament.


In my forthcoming blogs I will be discussing each sacraments and its relevant Biblical verses. I will start with Baptism. I am doing this with the hope of educating those Catholics who are not deeply immersed in their faith so as to avoid their migration to other christian faiths.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Visiting the Sick.

Last Saturday (Aug. 4) We visited my sick auntie (Gilda) in Las Piñas. I left Carmona around 6:30 am and I arrived there 8:00, she was not in there house because she went out with my sister (Grace) to see her Doctor for her check-up.

After 30 mins. they arrived, upon seeing her I immediate went to her to bless her hand and I said "How are you auntie?" she replied, I am OK, but closely looking at her it's undeniable that she has a serious health problem. I was told before that her problem was her liver, it's not working very well that's why she's losing weight and her stomach was unusually bigger. I can't help but pause and admire her courage and strong determination to live and fight her oppressive illness.

We may ask, why is she suffering big time? Is this her punishment from God? This is my opinion based on what I know as an Extra Ordinary Minister of the Holy Communion. She is undergoing these trials for her and for us also, to know that there's a supreme being that governs us all and that is God, in spite of the modern medical technology, in spite of material wealth, there's God who's way above all of these temporal things. Her predicament is not a punishment from God, rather it's God's way of saying come to me, rely on nobody but me and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

After staying with her for more than two hours, We said our goodbyes I kissed her on her cheek and I said take good care of your health always and we will be seeing you again next month and she replied you always Pray for me... then she said, "I always Pray for all of you."

Why do we visit her often? Why do we allocate a portion our precious time with her? To my mind we visit her often because she has helped us become what we are today, in a special way she has also showed her love for us specially during the time when she took care of us. This is actually our special way of saying to her that we remember those days and we are still very grateful for the things that she has done for us all.

Finally, we visit her often because of these Bible verses on Matthew 25:35-40. Read on it.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Our once a Month Pastoral Council Meeting

Every first Sunday of the Month is our scheduled Monthly pastoral meeting. It is presided by our Parish Priest and the Parish council president. The members of the council are the officers of various Church organization. It starts with a Prayer then the agendas for the meeting is read. Every issues concerning the Parish Church is discussed, some are very trivial and some has major significance. The issues discussed involves how we can raise more funds for the on going construction of our Church. So everyone contributes his/her ideas on how to do it.
Every topic that is discussed is jotted down in the minutes of the meeting by the secretary and she also takes care of the attendance of all participants.
Pastoral meeting is very important because it is here where the plans for the Church are hatched in advance. It is also an opportunity for the officers of various Church organization to be up close and personal with our Parish Priest, there we discuss with him our thoughts on how we can contribute for the advancement of our parish.
Normally it last from two to two and a half hours. then, it ends with a Prayer from him.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Auntie Gilda and the Sacraments of: Reconciliation, Confession & Anointing of the Sick

Last July 23 around 11:30 pm, I got a call from auntie Eden and this is what she told me, " Bong we're here in your auntie Gilda's house and she is very sick," then she asked me if I can gave her the Sacrament of Holy Communion the following morning. I said I cannot because my authority as a Lay Minister of the Holy Communion is only confined to our Parish and aside from that before I give this Sacrament there must be a delegation from our Parish Priest. So she said Ok and it ended our conversation.

After about 5 minutes of thinking about the phone call, I told myself they called on me because they taught that in that dire situation I can be of help to them. I called them back and told them that if they think that Auntie Gilda's situation is dangerous, they must call a Priest immediately so that she can be given the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick and if possible the Sacraments of Communion and Confession. Auntie Eden told me that they cannot go to the Church because it was already past midnight and the Priest is already sound asleep. I told them they should just go and knock on the Church, who knows somebody might wake-up and tell them the predicament that they were in. I further told them that if they think that she will still be Ok until the next morning, I will just take care of everything I'll attend first the 6:00 am Mass at our Church then, I'll consult our Priest on what to do. They told me that they'll just wait for me in the morning. I tried to sleep immediately but I wasn't able to do so. Finally, I retired exactly 3:00 am.

I woke-up 4:45 am, I prepared breakfast for my wife then, off to the church. I first went to the Perpetual Adoration Chapel after 15 mins. I went to the church to hear Mass. I only had one fervent prayer, that God will give me a Priest in Las Piñas so that Auntie Gilda will recieve the three Sacraments, After the Mass I briefly spoke with our Priest.

Around 8:00 am, I left Carmona for Las PIñas I arrived in the Hospital 10:00. I went immediately to her room and saw her lying on her bed & resting. I approached her and told her that I am going to call a Priest so that she can have the Sacraments of Confession, Communion & Anointing of the Sick and she said yes!

I went to the Parish Office of Moowalk Village and inquired if they have an available Priest. The secretary told me that there is a Priest, I filled-up a form. After a few minutes the amiable Thai Priest named Father Joseph came out. I blessed his hand introduced myself as a Eucharistic Minister and we went to the Hospital.

Upon arriving on her room Fr. Joseph introduced himself and wore his Sutanna & Stole. He asked us to go out of the room because he's going to hear the Confession of Auntie Gilda. After the confession he called us back and told me to participate in the prayers and during the Communion I will be the one who will give the Communion to her. I said yes! So he gave me the Body of Chirst neatly secured inside the Corporal. After the prayers were said. I gave her the Body of Christ afterwards the Priest anointed her with Holy Oil.

I gave the Priest his stipend and accompanied him back to the Church, I said thank you very much! He said welcome, no problem it's part of my Vocation.

I arrived home around 6:30 pm, tired but fulfilled because I was able to Live my Faith....

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Reunion/Originally Posted on April 30, 2007

April 29, was a day to remember. We went to Moonwalk Las Piñas to attend the get together sponsored by Auntie Elsa. We went there for no other reason but to renew acquaintance with our relatives.

Upon arrival we were immediately ushered to the dining table and there we got our food. Then with our plates full, we joined our relatives in the veranda and slowly we eat and conversed with them as well. As the night was maturing the Karaoke music was also being kept busy by my relatives, all kinds of songs were being played and it was music to my ears to listen to them, although some of them were mangling the lyrics.

On our table I was busy eating pulutan, and I had a few shots of Red wine while at the same time silently listening to the friendly arguments of my relatives. The topics of the debates was varied: from the current slump of Miami Heat, an NBA team with superstar players like Shaq Oneil and Dwayne Wade being overpowered by the relatively young team of the Chicago bulls to the current political situation of our beloved province in Motiong Samar.

After a long while it was time to go home, we were given our presents directly brought in from the USA by Auntie Elsa...

As we were cruising home I was on a reflective mode... once in a while it's good to have this Reunion because it always reminds us of our older relatives who has made a difference in our lives...

Anointing of the Sick/Originally posted May 7, 2007

It was May 2 around 9:00 pm, a fellow Minister of the Holy communion called me, I was quite annoyed because it was time to relax and eventually retire for the day. I have not yet uttered a single word when he said, bong can we call Father Nards? (Our Parish Priest) I asked him? for what reason? And he told me that there is a gravely ill woman and she might go anytime. I thought about it for quite sometime because it was late in the night already and I don't want to disturb our Priest.

However, we went to the her house upon knocking on their gate we were meet by her son and we introduced ourselves as Extra Ordinary Ministers of the Communion . Then I asked him "Can we see your sick mother?" he said yes, we went inside and saw a very thin old woman lying on her bed. She can't talk anymore because she has cancer on her throat but she can still recognize. I looked closely at her, there was a sudden gush of emotion on me because I knew her face. I always see her attending Mass or Bible service and whenever she in the church she always caught my attention because she was always alone on the farthest pew, she was alone but she was constantly following the ceremony whether it was Mass or Bible service.

So we went home and I decided to text our Priest and told him that there is a gravely ill woman sick with cancer, she's near death, I further told him if it is possible for him to gave the last sacrament that night or early morning. after a few minutes I got a reply and he said. I am ready now, so I texted him back and said Father I will fetch you now. I hailed a tricycle and went to the church when we arrived Father was already prepared and we went to the house of the sick lady. Immediately Father put his stole and said: I am the Priest I will gave you the Anointing of the Sick .

It was so touching seeing the Priest laying his hand on the sick and praying at the same time. After Father was through we accompanied him back and said thank you very much Father.When I was going back home I said to myself thank you dear God for calling us and making us an instrument of your grace...