"Once upon a time there was a man who couldn’t find God. All the people lived on the plains and they were like people everywhere, some bad and some good. A man named John Shayo lived in the valley. He was a faithful Christian and participated in his small Armani Christian community, helping the poor and needy, especially the lepers who lived on the slope. But in the valley itself there was discord, thieves and tricksters walked about openly. There was fighting, witchcraft and lying. Finally John decided to move, saying to himself, "God isn’t here. God is the Unsurpassed Great Spirit who doesn’t like fighting and discord. He wants peace and harmonious relationships in his human family." John saw a mountain in the distance and thought, "ah, God our Great Ancestor must live up there in the quiet and peace. I will go and find God."
It took a long time, days and days, until he reached the mountain, and then he undertook the arduous climb in the burning equatorial sun. Late one day he rested by the side of the footpath. He was startled to see a bearded stranger with a staff making his way down the mountain. "Jambo!" they greeted each other. "What is the news?" John told him he was on his way up the mountain to see God the Creator and Source. The traveler said he was on his way down the mountain to live with all the people below. They talked as was the custom and parted with the greeting, "Goodbye until we meet again." As he continued his climb, John thought of the man and admired him. He spoke well. John wondered why he was going down to the valley.
Thornton Wilder’s play "Our Town", in it, Emily, who has died, returns to relive one day of her life, choosing her 12th birthday. She is overwhelmed at how blind people are to one another, how they don’t make time really to look at one another and see the preciousness of the human life before them. She begs her mother to look at her for just one minute with undistracted eyes. Finally the blind and blurred vision of those around her becomes too much and she begs to return to her grave.
Lots of time we are blind, like Emily’s mother in the story. We do not see the people around us in deep and appreciative ways. They are invisible to our heart. Or glimpse them only dimly in a fuzzy, half-hearted way like "trees walking". "Do you see anything?" Jesus asks (Mark 8.23, NRSV)
*November 6 is the birthday of Benjamin Hall Kennedy (1804,) who translated into English the great hymn "Ask Ye What Great Thing I Know."
This is the story about people named everybody, somebody, anybody and nobody. There was an important job to be done so everybody was sure somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was everybody’s job. Everybody thought anybody could do it, but nobody realized that everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that everybody blamed somebody when nobody did what anybody could have done.
Did everybody realize that pork barrel scam had floated and proliferated during Macapagal Arroyo’s regime? And that the Roman Church, or the National Churches, keep a blind eye to that proliferation because ‘busog na busog’ sila? Did anyone observe that hypocrisy now is present to those who shouted against the pork barrel as they were the ones who compromised their stand before the throne of Arroyo regime? Did the citizenry realize the issue is being muddled by the Churches itself so that Pinoy government‘s investigation will not reach at the foot of those who were benefited by that pork barrel during their heydays in Gloria’s government? Go ahead be angry, that’s normal but it is above normal when these "plastic" people forcibly ignore the truth that they were the ones who indeed, as we said, "full na full" during past Gloria’s regime pork barrels. Ring the bells for that by the way; is there any haul from the churches, which until now, sex and immorality scandal are not yet settled? We will help the church by paying unreasonable amounts for the masses for the dead, so that the more collection the more we can settle our Church debt to parents and the "boys" themselves who were victimized by the "moral guardians of society" – the clergy which their mouth are more than their evilized condoms… conscience? Why, is conscience for the government functionaries only? When it comes to us, is the clergy exempted to that "conscience? Who says so? Jesus?
There are many views in the modern days about All Saints Day and All Souls Day. For the other end of the pole, All Saints day is a commemoration for all the saints, particularly those pronounced and owned by the Church, that’s why the Roman Pope Pius X11 exhorts, "We should imitate the virtues of the saints just as they imitated Christ, for in their virtues there shines forth under different aspects the splendor of Jesus Christ." While All Souls Day commemorates all our faithful departed. On the other end, particularly the Protestants, there’s nothing "great" about those two days. The other churches pray for the salvation of souls of the departed. The other end falls as a mere ‘remembering the dead’ day. Only one, no, two is common for these two ‘end poles’ both remember the dead and both enjoy eating native foods prepared such as ‘ibus, kalamay hati, suman, valenciana, suman latik, bibingka, salad, but-ong, muasi, puto kutsinta’, etcetera, etcetera.
Each end of the ‘pole’ should respect each other’s view. Since the early Church, Christians have prayed for the dead, and, by the 7th century, some monastic foundations reserved this day for deceased members and benefactors. In 988, Odilo, abbot of the French monastery of Cluny, established the tradition of keeping, "with joyous affection the memory of all the faithful departed who have lived from the beginning of the world until the end." By the 14th century, the commemoration had spread throughout Europe and was universally accepted in the Latin Church.
What does China wants at Spratly Islands is what other countries also want: the natural wealth that lies beneath Spratly’s water. It is a modern day expansionism by the modern day China. And so, who tells you that only the United States and Europe own the color of imperialism? Perhaps, Chinese imperialistic styles are discreet and in different form, still, it is the same intestine that of Europe and America.
Observantly, Beijing is prowling the Asian region in search of new investment and trade opportunities and sources for raw materials, all because of their economic and industrializing expansions. The United States, on the other hand, has to "police" the area not in the name of peace but rather to protect their interests. In other words, the peace which the United States and Europe expounding in Asia region is not necessarily Asia’s peace and stability but that of America and of European economic strengths.
The contention that arises is all about security. Really? Or, it is all about securing the US and European economic interest in the region, particularly in the Philippines. In fact, it was obvious that a certain China’s oil exploration company that had signed contract with Australia raised the ante of the US. Why would the US withdraw its forces at Afghanistan even the country’s political stability is still volatile, and deployed them at the Pacific? It’s a move to check China.
The title speaks for itself. They are interlinked. Let me share with you a radicalized rendition of our folk lullaby penned by Ms. Melinda Grace B. Cunanan of Union Theological Seminary. "Ili, ili, tulog anay (My lovely child, just go to sleep) Ari diri imong nanay (Your mother dear is at your side) Bantayan ka sa pagtulog (I’m watching over you as you sleep) Ili,ili, tulog anay (My lovely child, just go to sleep)."
It is radicalized because instead of the "nanay" being "wala diri" (not here), she is "ari diri" (right here). A mother being there, being present, singing a lullaby to her young child conveys a vivid picture of things being "in the right order, of an existence that is in harmony." In other words, the mother is not absent from her child toiling in the sugarcane fields. Nor is she in a garment factory laboring till her whole body is numb all for a measly wage. Nor is she in a far country caring for other people’s children. Neither is she absent because she has succumbed to too much injury from domestic violence. In the very words of our Filipino culture, as echoed by Ms. Cunanan, it is a mother’s inalienable right to be able to sing to her child.
A range of environmental difficulties is the reasons why we this cerebral climate change/environmental problem here today. The challenge of environmental destruction and ecological problems is not only limited in the Asia-Pacific region including the Philippines, but it is global. What we have is a rapid downward environment that causes disastrous results. Disasters that caused not only deaths of hundreds of thousands, but also homelessness, injury, poverty, and mental sufferings of countless survivors. In the eyes of the Church, she have been at the forefront of environmental and ecological advocacy programs. This is part of a Holistic mission endeavors the Church have. Personally, it is our belief that the challenge of environmental change and disasters, people of all faith should share a concern for the environment.
But first, we have to acknowledge that God’s creation from the very beginning was good and that God "establishes the natural world as the proper context for human fulfillment". In a sense, God made humankind stewards of His earth with the power to be its protector. However, and this is the second point we have to acknowledge before everything else, humankind has "moved from being protectors of God’s creation to its destroyers". No wonder we are harvesting environmental mismanagement of man. All these natural disasters and calamities were all caused by environmental destruction, "a systemic and corporate destruction emanating from human greed, and insatiable desire for more, all under the aspect of human development and progress." The degradation of nature is the product of bottomless accumulation of wealth and wasteful lifestyle.
"There was a beautiful maiden named Sungnaro. She used to sleep in a dormitory under the supervision of a matron as it was their custom in those days. Every evening a handsome man would come to the dorm and court her. She fell in love with him. She never saw him in broad daylight which kept her wondering. It was said that every morning she went to the pond to fetch water. She washed herself singing, "Getting cleansed, and getting cleansed." She never saw the man during the day so she became suspicious. So she shared this with her matron. Her matron advised her to make a scabbard/machete belt and give it to him in the evening when he came to court her. The next morning when she went to the pond to wash herself, she was surprised to see the belt wrapped around a huge tree by the side of the pond. In great surprise, she returned and told this to her matron. Her matron advised her to give a blue dyed shawl that night. She did so. To her great astonishment, the next morning, the shawl was worn around the same tree. While she wondered, the tree began to sing, `Getting cleansed, getting cleansed, the maiden wearing the blued dyed shawl. Like beautiful cascade of a waterfall O maiden of Chungliyimti, a hundred maidens cannot match your beauty. Like the previous orchid, how profoundly your beauty adorns the village.’
We people when we become sick, seek places where we can breathe fresh air and hear the healing sound of nature. So usually, we try to have short vacation at farm, or at beach, places beside the sea, places where freshness can still be captured. Why, because many attest and claim they feel better, re-invigorated after visiting such places where nature still abide. In reality and not only by tradition, there was and is a deep relationship between us - human, trees and flowers, that is, nature in general. It is of common belief that before the separation of day and night, human nature and animals lived together as a big family, living in harmony with one another, understood each other. They helped one another in times of needs, spoke the same language and tried their best not to hurt one another. In a sense, from the very genesis of our earth, universe and human existence exist of relationships among the Supreme Being, the people, and nature. The human race and nature are interdependent.
Ni Leo Claridad
Sang pagbutwa ko sa kalibutan may mga lamok na, kag may yara sadto nga balatian tuga sang kutot sang lamok nga ginatawag H-fever. Karon nga panag-on sa nagamal-am ang kalibutan, nagamoderno, nagahapos kag nagata-as ang ihibalo sang tao, pati mgalamok naga "sophisticated" bisan pa ang halit.
Katulad sadtong H-fever, kag siling sang kasilingan ko gani, may malaria pa gid sadto, wala madula ang balatian kundi masiling ta nakontrol kag sining ulihe nagmatuyom ang dala nga halit nga amo ini ginatawag nga Dengue. Sa malip-ot wala nagakadula ang lamok, makontrolar siya kag ang balatian nga dala niya. Maayo man ang ginahimo sang gobyerno kontra dengue apang ini wala sing mahimo.