Archive for April 2012
If you are supporting Earth Hour, do it for a more edifying purpose: gather the family members, turn off the electric lights, light the candles, and pray the Holy Rosary. Then read the first chapter of the Book of Genesis:
“In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth— 2* and the earth was without form or shape, with darkness over the abyss and a mighty wind sweeping over the waters—b 3Then God said: Let there be light, and there was light.c 4God saw that the light was good. God then separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” Evening came, and morning followed—the first day….*”
The Earth Hour becomes the Hour of Creation. The Church for centuries has adopted pagan practices but baptizing them with Christian meaning, in the same way as the Church accepts Gentiles and baptizes them as Christians. We can adopt the secular practice of the Earth Hour and turn it into a Christian practice. The Book of Genesis is the First Reading in the Easter celebration, that is why before Easter Sunday, it is Black Saturday, and on Easter Eve mass, the Church is dark, to symbolize the darkness of sin that covers the entire world.
Then read the Prologue of John in Chapter 1:
“In the beginning* was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.a
2He was in the beginning with God.
3* All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.b
What came to be 4through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;c
5* the light shines in the darkness,d
and the darkness has not overcome it….”
The Earth Hour becomes the Hour of Creation, as Sunday, through the Resurrection of Christ, became the day of the New Creation; the Hour of the New Creation is better designated to the first hour of Easter Sunday. The light of Christ shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. You see this in the seal of Ateneo de Manila University and Manila Observatory. The light of the world is not the sun but IHS, Christ. It is the Mystery of Incarnation. Gazing at the whole world–the Earth–is one of the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius: to see the world as the Holy Trinity sees it. That is why, the Jesuits produced the greatest geographers like Mateo Ricci, because geography is an aid to the Spiritual Exercises. The Holy Trinity sees the world of men engulfed by sin. And so the Holy Trinity decides to send the Second Person of the Trinity, God the Son, who became flesh in the Person of Christ.
These prayers, readings, and meditations would fill a whole hour. Many indulgences can be obtained here from the praying of the rosary, the 30-minute reading and meditation of the scripture–and more if done in front of the blessed Sacrament in a Holy Hour.
A blessed Hour of Creation to all.
This Lenten, I would like to comment about the Catholic fanatics crucifying themselves on the cross. As a form of imitating the suffering of Christ, a friend of mine told me it should first be established that it was actually Christ who was crucified. He argued that the story in the New Testament related that on the way to Golgotha the Cross was taken from Christ by the Roman soldiers and Simon of Cyrene was forced to carry it. It does not say that Simon returned it. So, it could be the case that it was Simon who was really crucified. That’s why when he was there hanging on the Cross, and being a good and charitable person, he asked of God to forgive them, the crucifiers, because they did not know what they were doing. I have reservations about such an argument, and I really am not too conversant about what really took place, not being born nor present at that time yet. And I, as well as my friend, really mean no irreverence and disrespect to what others have to say about the matter. They could have other sources of knowledge my friend was not privy to.
Here are the verses in the Bible about Simon of Cyrene:
“As they led him away they took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country; and after laying the cross on him, they made him carry it behind Jesus.27A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him.28n Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children,29for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.’30 At that time people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’o31 for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?” 32Now two others, both criminals, were led away with him to be executed.The Crucifixion.p33When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left.q” (Lk 23:26-33)
The pronoun “him” who was crucified refers to the closest preceding male noun mentioned. That noun is Jesus; Simon is too far. The Roman soldiers would not be too stupid to crucify Simon of Cyrene, because Jesus Christ is unmistakable: he has a crown of thorns, he was scourged, and everybody knows him as a prophet. The Jewish priests who want to kill Jesus must make sure that the person crucified is the right man. Mary and John was there beneath Jesus’ cross. There can be no doubt that it was Jesus who was crucified and not Simon of Cyrene.
7. Bishops must be Married.
FACT: In 1079 AD celibacy was first enforced for priests and bishops by Pope Gregory VII. Before this time, they were permitted to marry.
Question #1: Does the Bible teach that a bishop (overseer) must be married AND ALSO have children as one of the conditions of being qualified to be a bishop?
Answer: 1 Timothy 3:2-5 o YES NO o
“A bishop, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?)” 1 Timothy 3:2-5
Question #2: In the very next chapter of the Bible after bishops are told they must be married with children, does the Holy Spirit warn that “forbidding to marry” is a “doctrine of demons”?
Answer: 1 Timothy 4:1-3 o YES NO o
“But the Holy Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.” 1 Timothy 4:1-3
8. Peter was married
FACT: Most Catholics believe that Apostle Peter was the first Pope and was not married. As one Roman Catholic leader said, “if Peter had a wife when he first met Jesus, he got rid of her quick!”
Question #1: Did Peter have a wife?
Answer: Mark 1:30 o YES NO o
“Now Simon’s mother-in-law was lying sick with a fever; and immediately they spoke to Jesus about her.” Mark 1:30
Question #2: Did Paul say all the apostles including Peter had a right to be married?
Answer: 1 Corinthians 9:5 o YES NO o
“Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?” 1 Corinthians 9:5
The ideal bishop is to be like Christ who never got married: “They have renounced marriage 9 for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it” (Mt 19:12). The first apostles like Peter are married; they were called by Christ after they were married not before. But notice that Peter said that “they have given up everything and followed [Christ]” (Mt 19:27). You can deduce that he also left his wife, so that he can become a spiritual father of many. As Christ said, “And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life.” (Mt 19:29)
Celibacy or not marrying for the sake of the Kingdom of God is a new idea in the time of the Apostles. Thus, during their time it is difficult to find bishops who are unmarried. So the next good thing is to choose a bishop from the married, but he must be married but once. Nevertheless, the idea of an unmarried bishop is still being proposed as an ideal to follow. And it would take centuries before this ideal became a firm discipline in the Catholic Church.
Paul has a right to take a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles (cf 1 Cor 9:5). But after enumerating his other rights as an apostle, he said: “But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing this to secure any such provision” (1 Cor 9:15). Thus, we can deduce that Paul did not marry.
I came across an article in the blog Filipino Nurses, entitled “Right to End Life (Euthanasia).“
The first argument is that for animals in serious injury or illness that couldn’t be cured, the and “humanely” thing to do is to “put them to sleep.” So, the argument goes, the same should also be true for humans.
There is no such thing as animal rights co-equal with human rights because animal rights are what humans bestow on animals. Once we lose our biblical moorings, our philosophical arguments goes adrift. When God made Adam and Eve, God gave them “dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth” (Gen 1:28). After the Great Flood, God told Noah:
Fear and dread of you shall come upon all the animals of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon all the creatures that move about on the ground and all the fishes of the sea; into your power they are delivered. 3b Any living creature that moves about shall be yours to eat; I give them all to you as I did the green plants. 4c Only meat with its lifeblood still in it you shall not eat.* 5Indeed for your own lifeblood I will demand an accounting: from every animal I will demand it, and from a human being, each one for the blood of another, I will demand an accounting for human life.d(Gen 9:2-5)
If you are going to kill your animal to eat it, God allows you to do it. If you want to kill your animal to put an end to its suffering, the Bible does not explicitly say, but it appears you can do it. But if you are going to kill a man to end his suffering that is another story: God explicitly forbids it, because, as God told Noah, God will demand an accounting for every human life whose blood was shed by another man. Thus, mercy-killing or euthanasia of another man is wrong.
This is what the Cathechism of the Catholic Church teaches about Euthanasia:
2276 Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible.
2277 Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.
Thus an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded.
2278 Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of “over-zealous” treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one’s inability to impede it is merely accepted. The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, whose reasonable will and legitimate interests must always be respected.
2279 Even if death is thought imminent, the ordinary care owed to a sick person cannot be legitimately interrupted. The use of painkillers to alleviate the sufferings of the dying, even at the risk of shortening their days, can be morally in conformity with human dignity if death is not willed as either an end or a means, but only foreseen and tolerated as inevitable Palliative care is a special form of disinterested charity. As such it should be encouraged.
Filipino nurses and doctors needs to read carefully these words of the Catechism, because Church defines what are morally and not morally acceptable forms of treatment. These statements are rooted in 5th Commandment: Thou shalt not kill. As stated in the original Hippocratic Oath:
I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.
I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.
But I will preserve the purity of my life and my arts.
In this time of Lent, Jesus shows us that the path to human happiness is not by spurning the cross but embracing it. Suffering, when united to the suffering of Christ, becomes redemptive.