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Grace and Truth


After ignoring this most famous book for so long, maybe it's time to shake the dust off our bibles and begin reading it again.  Beginning with the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) is a good starting point for the historical context, although there is also that in John.  Personally, I like to commence with the gospel according to St. John because it exhibits a deeper theological insight.  Many are familiar with the "In the beginning..." of the Old Testament--in the book of Genesis.  So St. John now begins the gospel:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God; 3all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. 4In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him. 8He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.

9The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not. 11He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. 12But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; 13who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. 15(John bore witness to him, and cried, "This was he of whom I said, `He who comes after me ranks before me, for he was before me.'") 16And from his fulness have we all received, grace upon grace. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known. (John 1.1-18 RSV)

The way this was capsulized and written points to its possible origin as an ancient song of the first Christians.  It looks like a summary or formula for those pioneer believers. This is the hidden treasure (cf. Matthew 13.44) mentioned in Christ's parables, treasure that we sell everything for just to acquire.  We'll understand the true nature of Jesus, full of grace and truth, misunderstood by the world but we ourselves see clearly.

If folks memorize the lyrics of many songs playing in the airwaves, might it not be asking a lot if these few verses are known by heart?

Article selected from Archive 7.

Unborn: Human Being With Potential


2nd trimester abortionPeople in the pro-choice side should realize what they are choosing when they opt for abortion. It's absurd to speak of choice when the choices are between murdering and saving. We don't have a choice to kill others for no reason at all. Self defense is legitimate; otherwise it's a crime.

Such people say that the unborn is not a person at all. They like to save the whale or the eagle rather than their fellow human being even if that person is still in his mother's womb. They say that the mass of tissues is just a potential human being. No! That so-called mass of tissue is truly a human being with potential! It becomes human at the time of conception (fertilization); it is at that time when the 46 chromosomes that contain all the genes of that human being come together.

The photo here is taken from Priests for Life website and everyone is encouraged to disseminate the images of aborted babies so that the secular media and the public in general will be informed of what's happening around us, and help in stopping abortions around the globe.

Article selected from Archive 6.

No Conflict Between Science and Religion


There is no conflict between true science and true religion because both serve the truth; the contradiction is in the eyes of the interpreter, and those who write about such false interpretations. First, we look at the false interpretation of the so-called scientists. If you examine the works of eminent scientists, e.g., Albert Einstein, you will discover that they (or a majority of them) believe in God. The controversy happens when some scientists say that there is no God. They should know better! Science deals with things physical, and those that can be examined by the senses. The true scientist sees all the laws of nature and he or she knows its limits. While it is evident that there is an intelligent being that designed all these wonderful laws, that is also not direct evidence of God's presence. So it goes both ways. The point that I'm driving at here is that true scientists cannot make pronouncements on the absolute presence or absence of God; if they're honest, they will not say such things. If they insist that God does not exist, that is their opinion; they should not misrepresent science in general. This conflict is demonstrated in the movie Contact, which I saw recently (rerun from HBO).

On the other hand, there are those who call themselves religious teachers or evangelists who absolutely reject science because it contradicts the bible. After reading Genesis (describing the creation of the universe in just six days), they insist that God literally created the world in 6 days. They then start to discredit such disciplines as archeology, paleontology, geology, biology (evolution, e.g.) etc. and disrupt the proper education of their listeners. The bible is not a science book! Contrary to others' bias against it, the Church insists on the complementarity between science and religion, between faith and reason. Others may retort that the Church suppressed such scientists in the past like Galileo or Darwin, and surely some clerics overstepped their roles as ministers. If people try to examine what happened, perhaps they should focus on that the scientists said. People of faith cried foul when such learned scientists started to develop their own philosophies and overstepped their roles as scientists. How can science disprove God's existence? Without science we'll still be living in the dark ages, so it surely is very important. But theories cannot delve into things spiritual, as it is largely physical and intellectual.

Remember, the bible is not a science book; it's not even a history book (not written the way historians write history). On the other hand, a science book is not a religious book. There is really no conflict—Faith and Reason need each other.

Article selected from Archive 5.

Enjoy The Coffee


This was emailed to me by Rowena. In our life we encounter a lot of complainers and those who can't seem to become content with what they have. This is a good story to tell...

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university lecturer. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the lecturer went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups: porcelain, plastic, glass, some plain looking and some expensive and exquisite, telling them to help themselves to hot coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the lecturer said: "If you noticed, all the nice looking, expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the better cups and are eyeing each other's cups. Now, if Life is coffee, then the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, but the quality of life doesn't change. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee in it. So folks, don't let the cups drive you... enjoy the coffee instead."

Article selected from Archive 4.

Culture of Life


Two thousand five is now in the past, and we're looking forward to a good and fruitful 2006 ahead! Disappointments and sorrows may come (as always), but something good always emerges from it. "We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose (Rom 8.28)." For many of us, life is a struggle, and we're unsure if the dawn is near, idea at all. Life is worth defending and treasuring; it is precious.

The table below, from, is placed here just to see where we are in the Life-Death spectrum. Of course we should belong in the Pro-Life Group, as should all people of good will (Pro-life involves all life issues, including banning the death penalty). A good reference material about this issue is David Reardon's Making Abortion Rare.

Group Concerned About... Believes Abortion Is...
Pro-Life Baby Immoral
Anti-Abortion Woman Dangerous to women
Pro-Choice Woman Helpful to women
Pro-Abortion Utopia Needed for social engineering

Of course, in dealing with people contemplating on abortion, or those who have undergone abortion, we should maintain the virtue of compassion; we are not supposed to judge them. We are to love them and pray for them. Women who have been in similar situations before are presumably more effective in talking to them. We should understand the pain, anguish and stress these women endure. If for some reason the abortion pushed through, then we should commend them to the mercy of the Son of God, and help them in providing closure. To stress the point, we are not judging them, or else we will be judged ourselves.

Prayer to End Abortion

Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life, and for the lives of all my brothers and sisters. I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion, yet I rejoice that you have conquered death by the resurrection of your Son. I am ready to do my part in ending abortion. Today I commit myself never to be silent, never to be passive, never to be forgetful of the unborn. I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement, and never to stop defending life until all my brothers and sisters are protected, and our nation once again becomes a nation with liberty and justice not just for some, but for all. Through Christ our Lord. Amen! (see PriestsForLife)

Article selected from Archive 3.

On Judging Others


It seems the reputation of people nowadays doesn't count to something. Quoting from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC in other blogs) paragraph 2477, I'm intending to remind folks about this issue.

Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury (cf. Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 220). He becomes guilty:

  • of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;
  • of detraction who, without objectively valid reasons, discloses another's faults and failings to persons who did not know them (cf. Sir 21.28);
  • of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.

Most of the time the information we have is second hand and yet I see a lot of pontification from people who claim truth to their allegations. Quoting another paragraph from Luke 6.37-38, I end with Jesus' words:

"Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back."

Article selected from Archive 2.

Veritatis Splendor


"What is truth? (John 18.38)"; as asked 2000 years ago by Pilate to Jesus, this question is the most thought-provoking. However the gospel passage did not record any philosophical answer from our Lord. It seems that it's a rhetorical question. Pilate didn't realize the person in front of him was Truth personalized, truth itself. Christ said in John 14.6 that he's "the way, and the truth, and the life"; no one goes to the Father, but by him. Furthermore, our Lord uttered, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you'll know the truth, and the truth will make you free (John 8.31-32)." This passage (truth will make you free) is always quoted by various people with different agenda, whether legitimate of otherwise, claiming its secondary meaning, which points to truth in general. But the context is that truth here points to Jesus Christ. So if you rephrase it, the verse may be rendered: "Jesus Christ will make you free." We cannot precisely say "God is true", or "God is truthful"; more appropriately, "God is truth."

The foregoing refers to the first connotation of truth; what we call absolute truth, referring to the truths on God, what we believe in; and truths on science or philosophy, what we determined in these disciplines. The second connotation of truth (what follows) refers to those "truths" that are obvious in day to day living. "I ate a pizza this morning" is such example of this truth, or "I slept at 12 last night", obvious truths (assuming I actually ate pizza and slept at that particular time). This second connotation becomes important in situations where the law is broken, or perhaps when a witness is called in any court of law or any investigative body.

In hotly contested court battles (or similar venues), both sides claim that they have the truth on their side. Here it becomes silly very fast; truth becomes abused. People swear by anything just to show they are on the right side. But what does scripture say here? In any kind of speech, the gospel in Matthew 5.37 mentioned that all we have to do is simply say Yes or No, and anything more than this comes from evil. Simply put, just tell the truth, directly, with a pure heart, without any motives underneath.

Jesus actually gave some pointers about people who are called to be witnesses. John 3.11 says: "Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen..." Say only what you are sure of, what you have seen or heard, not what you think or imagine happened. Words are so powerful that they can make or break a person's reputation. No wonder God made lying a very grievous sin that making false witness made it to the ten commandments.

The point of this short article? Tell the truth always, saying yes when we mean yes, and no when we mean no. One unfortunate corollary to this is that we are not sure whether people are lying or not. The threat of getting God's wrath if we lie is not effective.

Let's bring back the veritatis splendor (splendor of truth)!

Article selected from Archive 1.