Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Keeping the Pledge: Message for the BC 2nd Anniversary

Brothers in Christ 2nd Anniversary

Keeping the Pledge
“He must increase, but I must decrease.”
[Jn 3:30]

Keeping the pledge we made of living the way of love is largely contingent upon the grace of God and how we, as Christians hold on to it.   We are able to carry out the good acts that we do only through his grace and never through our own capabilities.

This generation where we live is preoccupied with achievement and self promotion, a generation obsessed with doing something out of one’s own power, in order to be noticed and recognized. The many popularity contests on TV, the hundreds of social network sites where being ‘liked’ or ‘followed’ by the most numbers of fans becomes a status symbol, or the attention grabbing posts, wall photos or profile pictures  are a testament to this “instant celebrity” culture that pervades our generation .  Young people are anxious to receive all the possible attention and approval.  We have made all efforts to draw attention to ourselves and to what we can and have achieved. Regrettably and ironically while we try in vain to focus our life to ourselves, we end up with our lives derailed, obscuring the one who gives the real meaning to our lives – Jesus Christ himself.

We find an opportune time in this another milestone in the brotherhood to stop and reflect on this reality.  Are our efforts to live the Gospel, however wanting, aimed at proclaiming Jesus or at just promoting ourselves?

We have chosen St. John the Baptist as our patron in celebrating our second year.  John the Baptist reminds us of our baptism where we receive our share in the missions of Christ, the very foundation of our Code of Honor.  As we commemorate the day on which we etched this brotherhood in our hearts, allow me to lead you into reflecting about St John the Baptist and on one of our Christian missions, our being a prophet.

John the Baptist knew that his mission was to prepare the way for Jesus. He lived his life, not to promote himself, but to promote the Lord. This does not mean that John the Baptist was unimportant, he sure is. But there’s a big difference between being important and self-important. John the Baptist bears witness to that. 

Reflecting on Johns’ Gospel [John 3. 22-30] focuses our attention to one of John’s role: John prepares the way for Jesus, here the analogy of a wedding feast is used to describe this role: John as the best man and Jesus as the bridegroom.  During the time of John and Jesus, a best man plays a very important role at a wedding. He was instrumental in arranging and inviting people to the wedding. And once his jobs were done, he willingly and graciously fades from the picture. He had a prominent place, but he was not center stage.  John the Baptist knew that this was his role.   John understood that his ministry, his moment in the limelight, and his waning fame, were all a part of God’s sovereign plan. John showed no tinge of jealousy, no hint of insecurity, no suggestion of bitterness, for he knew clearly what his role was.  Jesus must be pre-eminent. John must fade.

 John is an important witness for us and he challenges our society’s preoccupation with self-promotion. He reminds us that Christians shouldn’t aspire to be a celebrity, but should strive to be a servant. We should live lives that shout not “Look at me!” but “Look to Jesus.” (Msgr. Charles Pope, June 23, 2012. blog.adw.org)

As brothers, we could learn a great deal of humility from John for he was a sort of person who knew how to think outside his self.  But thinking less about one’s self does not mean one is not important, rather, it means being aware of the other people around us – of their status, of their need, of their longings.  If we think less of ourselves, we are able to love others more. Thinking less of ourselves allows us to empty ourselves of selfish ideals so that we may have more room in our heart & mind for others. Thinking less about ourselves helps us gain the courage to say, “He must increase and I must decrease”.

These help us realize that power, achievement and fame are nothing if they are used only for self-promotion just as how Pope Benedict summarized:  “Human logic, however, often seeks self-realization in power, dominion, in powerful means. Man still wants to build the tower of Babel on his own to reach the heights of God, to be like God. The Incarnation and the Cross remind us that full realisation is found in conforming our human will to the Father, in the emptying of one's selfishness, to be filled with love, God’s charity and thus truly be able to love others”. (Audience, June 27, 2012)

We do not claim to be perfect people fulfilling the will of the Father. We are not saints, at least yet.  Rather, we are sinners who hope, through the grace of God and with this brotherhood to become saints in God’s time by discerning the His holy will and fulfilling it in our time. We mirror the characteristic of the church just as the Holy Father aptly described in his homily as being “not a community of the perfect, but a community of sinners, obliged to recognize their need for God’s love” (June 29, 2012 Feast of Sts. Peter & Paul, Imposition of Pallium)

Brothers, we do not keep the pledge to draw attention to ourselves but to proclaim Christ.  Our aim for keeping this pledge is clear from the very beginning: Our brotherhood is not about achievements, it is never about popularity; it is plainly about following the will of the Lord and being truly able to love others.  I urge you then to remain faithful to the pledge we have made at the foot of the cross by seeking to follow Jesus in the ordinary tasks of our daily lives.  May Mary, our mother of Perpetual Help who followed every footsteps of Jesus guide us, through this brotherhood to become better Christians.

Cathedral Shrine & Parish of the Good Shepherd, August 24, 2012.

Brothers in Christ

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Yes, it's brilliant, but where is God?

Recently, My office mate and I engaged into an "intellectual" conversation. It was one of those "intellectual meetings" that we set as part of our daily de-stressing routine at work. We were discussing about love, particularly on the extent a person should love. It was because of the lyric of an OPM music we just heard which says, "Bakit labis kitang mahal..." roughly translated as 'Why do I love you too much...'

Just a disclaimer: It is possible that I may have misinterpreted the meaning of the song but m
y position on a love that is "too much" is more concerned on the distorted and often disordered view on love, a word, rather an emotion either simplified or exaggerated too much.

I thought the word 'too much' to describe a love for a person is disordered. What I have in mind are the people who became too obsessed about a person and may even become destructive just because he/she loves a person too much. Too much love will kill you, remember what the Queen told us?

office mate believes that you can't put a limit to love, and there is not an easy way for you to say that you you are already loving too much; and love is an all encompassing term that can never be defined in a single word, and I agree.

We were arguing about this topic when she brought out a book she's been into entitled "Love Triangle" written by a psychologist, Robert Sternberg. Sternberg theorizes a model of love which is represented in a triangle of elements, namely Intimacy, Passion and Commitment. He said that a consummate love must have all three elements, otherwise it may just be infatuation, a mere liking or an empty commitment. It was a good model, I thought. Scholarly indeed!

But at the course of our argument, I thought something is missing. I told my officemate, "Yes, it's brilliant, but where is God there?"

What followed was a realization on how the world is frivolously trying to live life yet wasting it and pondering on its deepest questions but eluding to find the answer while it is just, obviously there.  People would offer the best philosophies and most erudite scientific explanations on how to better appreciate life or experience, in this case, love but fails to acknowledge the source of love.

Okay, okay... Sternberg is speaking to all people regardless of religion and he never have to mention God in his theory.

And that is the problem with so many people. They thought they can talk about God only in a particular times and venues and not talk about work, or talk about work without having to talk about God.  A disordered view on God. Splitting the spiritual and the corporal.

Can you sever your soul from your body?

Ah, love! A many splendored thing indeed!

On Cardinal Sanchez: “We remember Pepito… and how he reminded us how good our God is!” - Cardinal Rosales

Originally posted at the website of the Cathedral-Shrine and Parish of the Good Shepherd.

Presiding over the Eucharistic celebration for the Blessing of the Crypt beneath the altar of the Cathedral-Shrine of the Good Shepherd reserved for the bishops and clergy of the Diocese, Cardinal Rosales commemorated the “giftedness” of his brother bishop, another prince of the Church whose life was spent in humble service to the church, his Eminence, the late Jose Cardinal Sanchez.


Rosales, the Cardinal emeritus of Manila affectionately referred to Cardinal Sanchez as “Pepito” as he was fondly called by fellow Filipino bishops and cardinals.  He said that through his life, Pepitotaught us to give more and offer more to the Lord.

Pasalamatan natin ang Diyos na hindi lang kanyang abo ang ating dinadalaw at inaalala kundi ang Kabanalan ng Diyos na ipinahiram sa kanya,” (Let us give thanks to the Lord, that we are visiting and commemorating not just the ashes of [Cardinal Rosales] but also the holiness which God lent him) Cardinal Rosales said.

The event was supposed to be a blessing and inauguration of the Cathedral Crypt, but the Crypt was obviously ‘blessed and inaugurated’ months before with the presence of Cardinal Sanchez as his body was interred there in March 12, 2012 before the Crypt was even completed.  Cardinal Rosales described the crypt as a place dedicated for the ‘repose not just of mortal remains but also of memories of the goodness’ of the people who has given up their lives in serving God through the church.


The blessing was attended by priests, religious communities particularly the Dominican Daughters of Mary Immaculate who took care of the cardinal while he was still alive, friends and relatives of the Cardinal including former senator Kit Tatad, and other lay people from the Diocese of Novaliches.


“Ours is a God of contradictions”

Reflecting on the Beatitudes, the Gospel read for the mass, Cardinal Rosales said: ‘Ours is a God of contradictions”, and he meant it positively.

Citing the contrast of the values of the modern world with what Christ teaches, Cardinal Rosales said that God reverses worldly values which considers riches, fame, approval and honor as the measure of a quality life into its opposite.  He said that God ‘takes the little things even dirty things that we have because in Christ we are forgiven and are made worthy to stand before him’.  “We just have to offer our being small to God and it will all become better than gold”, explained the Cardinal in Filipino.

He also emphasized the importance of the role of prayer in making us understand the things that may be of no sense for others and thus ‘make sense out of the nonsense’. He described prayer as a means of sharpening our consciences in order to help us develop better awareness of what is good and grasp the meaning of the beatitudes.  He also said that the key in achieving this in prayers is listening to Jesus.

Cardinal Rosales invited those present to always ‘count the gifts that God provides daily’ and to learn to appreciate and value them every day. "Huwag na natin hintaying maipasok pa sa kripta bago natin pahalagahan ang mga biyaya ng Diyos" [We should not wait for the our time to be interred in a crypt before we appreciate the graces from God], he quipped.

Repository of memory

Bishop Tobias, on his part highlighted the most important purpose of the crypt as a repository of the memories of bishops and priests of the Diocese of Novaliches, saying that we bury their bodies but not their memories.  The bishop quipped: “Nai-offer ko na kay Bishop Bacani ang katabing libingan, pero sinabi nyang mauna na lang daw ako,” [I have offered the other tomb to Bishop Bacani but he told me to, use it first] which made those present laugh.  Bacani, bishop Emeritus of Novaliches was the first bishop of the Diocese.


An important announcement

Just before sending the people off, Cardinal Rosales broke very important news: at the recently concluded International Eucharistic Congress held in Dublin (June 10-17) and attended by a number of Filipino bishops including Cebu Archbishop Palma, the Pope, through a video message, announced that the next Congress will be held in 2016 in the city of Cebu.


The release from the Vatican website quotes: (emphases added)

My dear brothers and sisters, I pray that the Congress will be for each of you a spiritually fruitful experience of communion with Christ and his Church. At the same time, I would like to invite you to join me in praying for God's blessing upon the next International Eucharistic Congress, which will take place in 2016 in the city of Cebu! To the people of the Philippines I send warm greetings and an assurance of my closeness in prayer during the period of preparation for this great ecclesial gathering. I am confident that it will bring lasting spiritual renewal not only to them but to all the participants from across the globe. In the meantime, I commend everyone taking part in the present Congress to the loving protection of Mary, Mother and to Saint Patrick, the great patron of Ireland; and, as a token of joy and peace in the Lord, I willingly impart my Apostolic Blessing.

by Dexter Tiro 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Kapistahan ni Kristo, ang Mabuting Pastol

“At iniaalay ko ang aking buhay para sa mga tupa.”
                                                 Juan 10.15b

Mga kuya kay Kristo,

Pagbati ng kapayapaan ng Panginoong muling nabuhay! Aleluya!

Sa simula pa ng kapatiran, batid nating ang ating layuning magsabuhay ng Mabuting Balita ay layunin ng lahat ng binyagang Kristiyano, subalit inaasam natin na sa pamamagitan ng  kapatirang ito, at sa tulong ng biyaya ng Diyos, magawa nating “seryosohin” ang ating mga pangako sa binyag. 

Subalit tayo mismo ay naghahangad ng isang mabuting modelo na paggagayahan ng buhay na nakalulugod sa Diyos. Madalas, bigo naman tayo sa mga taong inaakala nating mabuting halimbawa.  May mga taong inaakala nating makapagpapalapit sa atin sa Diyos, pero sila pang dahilan ng ating pagtalikod. Minsan din, tayo pa ang nagiging dahilan ng pagkaligaw ng iba.  Bilang BC, inako natin ang isang pagsasabuhay para sa iba. Inako din natin ang maging “pastol” para sa isa’t isa. Pero tayo ngayon ay tinitimbang, at napatunayang nagkukulang, at naghahangad ng isang matibay na pastol.

Mga kuya, ang kasagutan sa ating paghahangad ay si Hesus! Si Hesus ang ating Mabuting Pastol!

Sa ebanghelyo, iminulat tayo ni Hesus sa tanda ng isang di mabuting pastol – yaong tumatakas sa pagdating ng asong gubat, walang malasakit sapagkat upahan lamang! Sa mga nagdaang araw, marami sa atin ang tila nagpakita ng ganyang katangian: iniwan ang kapatid, di nagpakita ng malasakit, nakalimot sa pangako!

Taliwas ito sa ipinamalas ni Kristo: “At iniaalay ko ang aking buhay para sa mga tupa.” Kung paanong ninais natin ang sarap para sa sarili, tinanggap ni Hesus ang hirap para sa iba. Kung paanong inasam natin ang talikdan ang kapwa, niyakap ni Hesus ang kanyang kamatayan para sa kanyang mga tupa.  Sa ganitong, kabalintunaan, nasaan ang Kapatid ni Kristo sa atin?

Mga kuya, ipinakikiusap ko, manatili tayo sa pag-ibig ni Kristo, manatili tayo sa ating pagsasabuhay. Ipinakikiusap ko ito hindi para sa akin, kundi alang-alang sa Panginoon. Ang pagtalikod sa pangako sa kapatiran ay pagtalikod kay Kristo.  Kung kaya ipagpatuloy natin ang ating nasimulan, palaguin pa natin ang ating pananampalataya at humikayat ng marami pang kapatid.

Sa halip na magsipagpulasan tayong lahat sa harap ng mga pagsubok, tularan natin ang katapatan at malasakit ng Panginoon, at kung maari’y mag-alay ng buhay para sa kapwa.

Maaaring ang “buhay” ay katumbas ng oras, pagdamay, panalangin, pagkalinga, pakikinig, mabuting pananalita at marami pang iba.

Alalahanin rin nating ang huling lugar na maari tayong magtagpo ay ang ating mga puso. Ang huling usapin na maari nating maging agenda ay ang pananalangin para sa isa’t isa. Kung pati ang mga ito ay mawawala pa, pinatunayan lamang nating tayo ay mga “upahan” – di tapat, walang malasakit at tumatakas!

Hiling ko na itago natin ang bawat isa sa ating mga puso, di man madalas magkita’y hindi nagkakalimutan, at sa tuwing maaalala ang kapatid ay maipapanalangin siya.

Pansamantala, sa ating pagkakawalay, ipinakiusap ko ang kapatiran kay kuya Darwin. May mga gawain siyang ipakikilala sa inyo. Tanggapin nyo nawa ang kanyang pakikisuyo tulad ng pagtanggap nyo sa akin.

Inaalala ko ang dalawang kapatid sa kanilang kaarawan: kuya Archie, April 19 at kuya Santi, May 18. Binabati ko rin naman ang mga kuyang nagtapos sa pag-aaral. Ipinapanalangin ko ang inyong susunod na hakbang sa buhay, sa kolehiyo man o sa trabaho.  Gayundin ang mga kuyang nanggaling sa Mariapolis nitong nakaraang linggo. Nawa’y maibahagi rin nila ang kanilang karanasan sa ibang kapatid.

Inihahabilin ko ang ating kapatiran kay Kristo, at kay Maria, Ina ng Laging Saklolo.

Kuya Dexter C. Tiro

Cathedral-Shrine & Parish of the Good Shepherd
Kapistahan ni Kristo, ang Mabuting Pastol