Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Our best condition

IT’S definitely when we are vitally identified with Christ. That’s when we can have our best condition in life. Let’s remember that Christ is the pattern of our humanity, the savior of our damaged humanity. He is “the way, the truth and the life” for us. We should do everything to keep that identification effective always as much as possible. 

 Of course, human as we are, we often fall short of that ideal, either intentionally or unintentionally. But that should not stop us from trying again and again, as often as necessary, to achieve that condition because that is what is truly proper to us. 

 To be sure, this is not something quixotic, improbable or impossible. Christ has done everything, including making himself immediately available to us in a tangible way especially in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, to make that identification happen. 

 We should just do our part, strengthening our faith, developing the necessary acts of piety that would make our relationship with Christ an abidingly living one, growing in the virtues to increasingly liken ourselves with Christ, learning to fight against our weaknesses, temptations and sin, etc. 

 We have to know Christ as best that we can. His life, his words and deeds, all a guide for us, are all recorded in the gospels. But to know him truly well, we, of course, have to be guided by the Church Magisterium who has been given a perpetual authority to properly teach and interpret Christ’s words and who keeps the living Tradition that tells us how Christ’s words ought to be understood. 

 That’s because if we would just interpret the gospels and the whole of the Bible on our own, we most likely would understand things differently, if not erroneously. That’s because the language of the Bible and the gospels have nuances that our current languages and ways of expressing and understanding cannot capture. 

 If we would just be guided by the Bible with our own selves as the ultimate teacher and interpreter, we cannot resolve the many apparent contradictions that the Bible contains. 

 How can we reconcile, for example, Christ’s command to love everyone, even our enemies, when on another occasion he told us to “hate” father, mother and even our own life if we want to follow him? How can we reconcile God’s commandment to love and honor our parents with the fact that on another occasion Christ seemed to disparage his own mother by saying “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” (cfr Mt 12,46-50) 

 We definitely have to take Christ’s words and actuations always considering the living Tradition in the Church, and not just any tradition, plus the Church Magisterium. Thus, we are told that to get to the authenticity of our Christian faith, we of course have to study the Bible, especially the gospels, but together with the Tradition as preserved by the Church, and the Church Magisterium that has been empowered by Christ to teach with infallibility in spite of the weaknesses of the men involved in that office. 

 Anyway, what is truly important to realize is that for us to be in the best condition in our life here on earth, we have to identify ourselves with the authentic Christ, because there can be many false Christs, if not the Antichrists.

Monday, November 23, 2020

The challenge of journalism today

WE cannot deny the very important and crucial role journalism plays in our life. It is supposed to bring us relevant pieces of news and information daily or in some regular fashion. 

 Journalism exerts tremendous influence in forming and shaping public opinion which is always a very dynamic thing, marked by many different and even conflicting views. It definitely is a necessity in any given society, let alone, the whole world. That is why it has to be practiced with a lot of care and sensitivity. 

 Given its fast-moving and delicate character, it behooves everyone engaged in it to really find the proper spirit that should animate his journalism. It should not just be at the mercy of first impressions, knee-jerk reactions, off-the-cuff comments or shooting from the hips. It requires a lot of study and research. 

 Neither should journalism be at the mercy of mere common sense and the possession of some so-called facts and data. These things, while having their legitimate value, can hardly capture the whole or global significance of any event that journalism is supposed to report on. 

 Facts and data need to be carefully verified. And more than that, they need to have the motives, reason, if not the spirit behind them probed thoroughly. Just citing facts and data is not a standard of objectivity, and much less, of fairness. A lot more than merely presenting them is required. 

 We need to realize that facts and data are not purely inert things that would simply tell us the whole truth. They spring from our human condition that would necessarily involve spiritual and even supernatural realities. Thus, they depend also on how we select them, how we present them, how we understand them, etc. Given this condition, facts and data can indeed come up with a great variety of consequences. 

 And neither should journalism be inspired merely by some ideological mindset. Again, ideologies can offer some help in analyzing and explaining certain events. But they do not and cannot capture the whole significance of the things reported. 

 Sad to say, because of this ideological flavoring of today’s journalism, we end up very divided and confused, as people become too partisan, biased and with deep prejudices. News items and commentaries can give out completely different and contradicting reports and views. 

 As a result, we are now fragmented into liberals or conservatives, progressives or traditional, capitalist, socialist or communist, etc. We do not anymore would know which is right. And this, of course, is no good news for all of us! 

 There is now a crying need for everyone engaged in journalism to return to God, to have a good, healthy relation with God, for only then can journalism be in its best condition. It’s amazing that this fundamental requirement for journalism, as in any other human endeavor, is often flouted by so-called professional and veteran journalists. 

 With God as the beginning and end of journalism, one would know how to be a good journalist, having a clear understanding of what his contribution to the common good is, what means, resources and possibilities he can make use of, as well as the limitations he has to contend with. 

 He would present things with great tact and delicacy. He would avoid absolutizing what only has a relative value, dogmatizing what only is an opinion, etc. In the end, he should do journalism such that God is brought to the people in the different issues of the times.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Developing the liturgical life

WITH the celebration of the Solemnity of Christ the King followed by that of the first Sunday of Advent, we are marking both the end of a liturgical year and the beginning of another one. Such celebrations should make us more aware of the significance of liturgy in our life and need to develop in each one of us what we may call as our liturgical life. 

 Liturgy as defined and described in our Catechism is the celebration of the Christian mystery that refers to the wonderful truth of our faith that Christ continues to accomplish his redemptive work with all throughout time. 

 In it, we are made to be aware that Christ’s work of redemption which culminated in his passion, death and resurrection, and made present in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, is not just a historical event, but one that continues to take place everytime the liturgy is celebrated. 

 In it, we are made to participate in Christ’s continuing work of redemption of us in the most effective way, since our redemption, while it is mainly the work and the mission of Christ, is also one where we are expected to correspond, to do our part. 

 In the liturgy, we work out our own salvation together with Christ and with everybody else who participate in it. Our salvation is not just Christ’s work. And much less, is it just our own work. It has to be both together, Christ and us, properly understood. 

 That is to say, that our redemption is first of all Christ’s work to which he gives himself completely, before it is also our work to which we also have to give ourselves completely. 

 We also have to understand that in the liturgy it is not just an affair between Christ and us, individually, but rather one between Christ and us, both individually and collectively. 

 To have the liturgical mind or to live the liturgical life means that we should not be concerned only about our personal relation and correspondence to Christ’s redemptive action on us, taken individually or personally, but rather we also have to be concerned about everybody’s relation and correspondence to Christ’s continuing redemptive action. 

 In other words, in the liturgy we should be concerned about our duty to care and love one another which we show through our spirit of fraternity among ourselves and our concern for a continuing apostolate. This duty should not be held only theoretically, intellectually and spiritually. It should be carried out in practice all the time. 

 Thus, everytime we participate in the liturgy, especially in the Holy Eucharist, the urge to do apostolate should be felt, otherwise, we would just be converting the liturgy into nothing other than going through some rites, prayers, gestures that would actually mean nothing or would just be appearances, if it is not accompanied by that urge to do apostolate. 

 We need to appreciate this particular aspect of the liturgical life which should not be confined only to attendance at Mass and other liturgical celebrations or the reception of holy communion. The liturgical life behooves us to reach out to everybody, living to the utmost degree that we can the spirit of fraternity and love for everyone. The liturgy should feed this urge to reach out to everyone and to love.