San Marcos Ebangelista, Patron ng Balian

“Write down for the coming generation what the Lord has done, so that people not yet born will praise Him.”  Psalm 102:18

 

Article reposted from:

 http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=305

The second Gospel was written by St. Mark, who, in the New Testament, is sometimes called John Mark. Both he and his mother, Mary, were highly esteemed in the early Church, and his mother’s house in Jerusalem served as a meeting place for Christians there.

St. Mark was associated with St. Paul and St. Barnabas (who was Mark’s cousin) on their missionary journey through the island of Cyprus. Later he accompanied St. Barnabas alone. We know also that he was in Rome with St. Peter and St. Paul. Tradition ascribes to him the founding of the Church in Alexandria.

St. Mark wrote the second Gospel, probably in Rome sometime before the year 60 A.D.; he wrote it in Greek for the Gentile converts to Christianity. Tradition tells us that St. Mark was requested by the Romans to set down the teachings of St. Peter. This seems to be confirmed by the position which St. Peter has in this Gospel. In this way the second Gospel is a record of the life of Jesus as seen through the eyes of the Prince of the Apostles. His feast day is April 25. He is the patron saint of notaries. 

San Marcos Ebangelista sa Balian

St. Mark the Evangelist is the patron saint of Balian in Pangil, Laguna, Philippines, where the ADRADA and SALINAS family, to which I proudly belong, are blessed to  have originated from.

why hurry? (choosing life over death)

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”  2 Timothy 4:6-8

this morning as we start our day with breakfast and news, CNN’s Anderson Cooper reported how children died from diseases which could have been prevented if their parents gave them due medical attention. but because of a literary misinterpretation of a scripture passage, the followers of this certain congregation believes that drops of olive oil and prayers were enough to heal their sick. 

a related subject also tackled how doctors would want to be spared from being prosecuted and sentenced to secondary manslaughter, if their terminally ill patients chose to overdose from the drugs they prescribed, in the premise that they did not end lives, but only the suffering.

still another HIV positive patient who suffers from hepatitis reiterates his right to die without prolonging the suffering that his illness would eventually bring about.  and this, they all believe is to die with dignity.

this reality disturbed me because i believe otherwise.  who are we to choose the exact time and date, or in which way we are to die?  even Jesus, who is the Son of God, did not.  instead He obeyed the will of the Father until the end.  He could have chosen not to be crucified.  He is God anyway.  but He did not.  did that make His death less dignified?

my daddy died of cancer.  he was in pain all throughout the ordeal.  he fought and suffered too.  but that did not make his death any less dignified.

my aunt had brain surgery.  thereafter, she depended on life support to survive.  my uncle and cousins did not stop to seek only the best medical care for her.  but she died anyway.  that did not make her death less dignified too.

one may be diagnosed with life-threatening disease and be given only a year to live by the doctors.  but a car may run over him the same day and die on the spot.  who can tell?

so please,  if you are one of those who feel hopeless and desperate because of your pain and suffering, and you wish to end it all now, or sooner, please stop and think again. 

 

please just stop and look at the Cross of Christ.  is there any pain and suffering that could ever surpass that which our Lord had to endure?  He could have passed on that chance, but it was an opportunity that the Father gave the Son to save us.  so that we, sinners, may overcome death and have eternal life.  it was an opportunity that He chose not to miss. 

whoever contemplates to die with dignity by ending life in his own terms is making a big mistake which can no longer corrected.  life is a gift from God, only He shall take it away; when He wills it and how He wills it.  and because it is a gift, we must own it to treasure and cherish.  not to throw it away.  otherwise, Jesus’ death on the Cross would be in vain.

when it’s our time to go, yes let it be with pride and honor and dignity.   no matter how and when.  and if our lives were full of love and compassion; of  faith and hope, then it would be so…  in God’s perfect time.

roobee doo bee doo

“And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” John 16:22

over dinner last night, bhoy and i wondered if people would still know each other in heaven.  we  also wondered how we would look like. if the same as when we were younger, or when older. though we may have preferences, it would make no difference because apparently no one will care about appearances anymore.  everything is beautiful.  and heavenly to be more precise.

there are stories of near-death experiences where heaven was a tunnel of light where choirs of angels sing. bhoy said souls would probably look like baby angels there.  and  i pointed out that there are depictions of angels as grown ups too. like the archangels.  well, we wouldn’t really know until we get there, would we?

it’s been a year now since roobee passed away.  there’s no way of knowing how she looks as an angel (i believe she is!).  and there is absolutely no way that we can track where in heaven she is.  even if there is GPS, it would be out of range, unless someone invents an HPS (heaven positioning system), which is a remote possibility. not ever. at least not in this lifetime.  or lifetimes ahead.

but after that initial shock when one gets to learn that someone dear is gone,  the difficulty to process grief into profound sorrow,  (four times in a span of one year for me), there seemed no choice but to get it over with and move on. question is do we?

by God’s grace and mercy, i have learned to dwell instead on the precious blessing of our friendship rather than the void she left. and boy i tell you! it’s huge!

as we watched clash of the titans last night, i can’t help but smile as i recall watching the 1981 version with her when we were still in high school.  one by one, random memories of the amazing 80s come to mind.  my sharona, esavy, we are the champions, straa, campings, retreats, jewa, balut, bagets… i could go on and on.

now as i listen to Apo Hiking Society, i can almost hear roobee singing doo bidoo bidoo.  with the choir of angels singing with her.

some kind of light

“Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go.” John 21:18

my daughter megan was compared by my mom with Christmas lights that blink and blink.  when she was younger, she had  a temper which she undoubtedly got from me.  fortunately she got the ‘flash’ type temper.  ’twas here, next second pfft, nada, gone. 

i wish i could control my temper like that when i was younger.  like a switch, i could have just turned it off as quickly in a flick.   and so should the spanking too.  (if that caused my behind to be this plump,  something good came out of it somehow, ha-ha.)

this is just to point out that as we grow older, the more subdued and considerate we become.  when as infants, we cry when we were hungry or wet,  no matter if it was in the middle of the night when everyone else was asleep.  or we smiled and giggled when we feel like it, even when there was no one around  to smile with us.  who cares?  as kids, we were carefree. no worries, no inhibitions.  walang pakialam sa mundo.  at walang kamalay-malay. we didn’t care what time of day, or night it was.  our parents took care of everything we need.

when we matured as teenagers, tougher rules were implemented.  parents stared at the clocks longer. tick-tock, tick-tock.  “time to do this, time to do that”.   “you’re late again”.   darn! these were played on and on like broken records.  that’s the reason we couldn’t wait until college graduation was over.  when finally, we would be able to find decent jobs and meet financial bliss minus parental restrictions.  aaaahhh sweet freedom!  haha! or so we thought…

we don’t realize it until later that as we went about to build careers and eventually settle down and raise kids of our own, that we were never  free afterall.  when we signed employment contracts, we were bound.  when we get married, we tied the knot.  and the marriage contract didn’t even have an expiration date.  and the power over our own life would remain a dream, because our sense of responsibility decides when to turn on and off our self-indulgence.  we will forever be prisoners of time, jobs and loved ones.  or on a grander scale, prisoners of our own organization, company or advocacies.  

by prisoner here meant to be involuntarily restrained.  as adult human beings, it is an instinct to belong.  and to belong means that one exists no longer for himself alone, but for someone else or something that he puts higher importance to, at times even more than himself. this requires sacrifice and self-denial especially when one’s desires and comforts are set aside for the well-being of another.   

when we stretch out our hands to be tied down or when we allow ourselves to be taken and girded to be carried to where we would not want to go, we are perceived to be prisoners by human standards. but when we conform to a higher spiritual order, the restraints become the most profound symbol of freedom.  chains are made of love instead of steel.  and the prison walls of  warm embrace, instead of concrete.  when we are finally freed from the bondage of our own selfishness, we finally taste freedom of the sweetest kind.

Jesus stretched out his hands to be crucified.  He allowed himself to be girded by others and carried away to where we would not want to go, to Golgotha where His body and blood were sacrificed so that we may be all be free from the bondage of sin.  it was not about weakness.  but obedience.  and love.

the fate of St. Peter was predicted to be like that of his Savior, only upside down.  though he “blinked” 3 times, when he denied Jesus, he freed himself from the anguish and shame by accepting his designated task on earth.  to be the rock upon which the Church would be built.  to be the shepherd of Jesus’ flock after His Ascension.

wouldn’t it brighter, if instead of blinking lights, we would rather be spotlights?…ever radiant and focused where the hand of God sets us upon.

things are not always what they seem

“When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat.  They were frightened but he said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’

Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.”  John 6:19-21

things are not always what they seem. 

when a husband prefers fishing on weekends, he hates to be with his family.  truth is, he just needs quiet time and a stress-reducing activity after a week of rush assignments and impossible deadlines.

when the house is in turmoil, used dishes are in the sink and the baskets are overflowing with laundry, the wife is just plain lazy.   truth is, she is too ill to get out of bed.

when a daughter forgets to text or call back, she doesn’t love her dad and mom anymore.  truth is, she is practically in a rush to get the subjects she needs to enrol for summer classes.

when a son spends more time with the computer than with people, he is anti-social.  truth is, he is just plain bored or just wanted to reach out to family and friends and stay in touch.

when we get old, it is the end.  truth is, it is the time when wisdom comes of age and the fullness of life blossoms.

when your dream house is almost within your reach and still lose it, you are such a LOSER.  truth is, you don’t really need it.

when there’s no cash in the bank, then all else is lost.  truth is, God provides us with what we need. 

when all plans don’t push through, you’re such a failure.  truth is, God has better ideas.

when you are all alone, no one really cares. truth is, God is always with us.

truth is, things are not always what they seem.

i don’t know if it was a serious case of pre-menopausal syndrome, but i’d been through a hell of a week.  i thought this, i thought that.  i feared this, i feared that. i worried about this, i worried about that.  what a waste of precious time!

the past week really started great.  we were able to watch the Divine Mercy Sunday celebration live on tv.  the message was TRUST and PEACE. and bhoy and i felt so blessed to be able to take part in spirit with this special mass commemorating the golden jubilee of the National Shrine for the Divine Mercy* and the life of  St. Maria Faustina of Kowalska. 

but as the week progressed, and the real world sucked me right back in,  i ran round and round again to look  for my happy old self from other people, places and things.  i looked for me in me.  but neither did i find me there.  i kept telling bhoy that i feel sad, and i didn’t even know why or where it all came from.  by midweek, i gave up and just let everything be. 

there was one constant though, that i failed to see because i was extremely obsessed with my self-inflicted ordeal.  and that constant is GOD.  and i failed to absorb the message of the Divine Mercy.  TO TRUST IN JESUS, THE KING OF MERCY.

like the apostles, i was frightened too.  but when i see Jesus and let him into my boat, i am sure i will find what i was looking for.  and realize that what i was looking for was always there afterall. 

to borrow the words of St. Teresa of Avila “Let nothing trouble you. Let nothing frighten you. Everything passes. God never changes. Patience obtains all. Whoever has God, wants for nothing. God alone is enough.”

as another week begins, my simple life goes on as it did before.  there’s really nothing to look for afterall.  everything that i need, God provides.  people to love, things to do and blessings to share.  even trials to make me strong.  what more can i ask for?   GOD ALONE IS ENOUGH.

* for more details about the devotion to the Divine Mercy, please go to http://thedivinemercy.org

Easter Sunday: The Risen Jesus is Our Hope

  • By Fr. James Farfaglia
  • 4/3/2010
  • reposted from Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

  • Because Jesus is physically alive, his Church is visible.  Because Jesus is corporeal, the sacraments are visible aqueducts of his divine life.  Because Jesus physically transcends time and space, he remains with us in the Eucharist as the “medicine of immortality” (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1405). The empty tomb and the neatly folded burial cloths illustrate that redemption is not only for the soul, but for the body as well.  

    He is truly risen! The empty tomb and the neatly folded burial cloths illustrate that redemption is not only for the soul, but for the body as well.

    He is truly risen! The empty tomb and the neatly folded burial cloths illustrate that redemption is not only for the soul, but for the body as well. CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (CATHOLIC ONLINE) – The resurrection of Jesus is a reality beyond doubt.  The liturgical season of Easter fills us with immense joy and profound hope.  However, each time we contemplate the gospel passages detailing the resurrection of Jesus we are faced with a sense of strangeness.  The barriers of time and space no longer apply to him.  The Lord appears and disappears with shocking suddenness.  He continually demonstrates his physical reality.  The Apostles and the disciples see him, hear him, and eat with him.  Thomas is told to touch his wounds.  The stone rolled away from the entrance, and the carefully folded burial cloths direct our gaze to the physical.  He has truly risen. 

     The disbelief and uncertainty evidenced by those who saw him testify to an apparent strangeness in the appearance of the newly risen Christ.  Slowly they came to recognize him, but they still struggled with doubt.  Their response shows us that although the risen Jesus is the same Jesus that died on Calvary; his physical reality is now different than before.  The body of the risen Lord is indeed his physical body, but he now moves about with a glorified body.

     Repeatedly the gospels stress that something extraordinary has occurred.  The Lord is tangible, but he has been transformed.  His life is different from what it once was.  His glorified body transcends the limitations of time and space.  For this reason, he can pass through the closed door of the Upper Room, and appear and disappear as he desires.  At times his disciples cannot recognize him precisely because their physical reality moves within time and space, and the Lord’s physical reality is no longer subject to time and space, although he exists within time and space.

     The clarity of the physical reality of the risen Jesus provides us with the certainty of the existence of the Lord and the veracity of everything that he has taught us.  The empty tomb and the neatly folded burial cloths illustrate that redemption is not only for the soul, but for the body as well. 

    Applied to our practical daily living, the reality of the Risen Jesus fills us with profound peace.  There is no need to worry or to fear.  He is truly with us.  With Jesus, we know that we are journeying, not to the sunset, but to the sunrise.  We enter into a new relationship with God when we really believe that God is as Jesus told us that he is.  We become absolutely sure of his love.  We become absolutely convinced that he is above all else a redeeming God.  The fear of suffering and death vanishes, for suffering and death means going to the one God who is the awesome God of love.  In reality, our life long journey is a journey to the eternal Easter in Heaven.

    When we truly believe, we enter into a new relationship with life itself.  When we make Jesus our way of life, life becomes new.  Life is clad with a new loveliness, a new light and a new strength. When we embrace Jesus as our Lord and Savior, when we develop a personal relationship with him, we realize that life does not end, it changes and it goes from incompletion to completion, from imperfection to perfection, from time to eternity.

     When we truly believe in Jesus, we are resurrected in this life because we are freed from the fear and worry that are characteristic of a godless life; we are freed from the unhappiness of a life filled with sin; we are freed from the loneliness of a life without meaning.  When we walk with Jesus and follow his way, life becomes so powerful that it cannot die but must find in death the transition to a higher life.

     The bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead makes our entire journey to eternal life tangible, real, certain, and credible.  Because Jesus is physically alive, his Church is visible.  Because Jesus is corporeal, the sacraments are visible aqueducts of his divine life.  Because Jesus physically transcends time and space, he remains with us in the Eucharist as the “medicine of immortality” (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1405). Because Jesus has truly risen from the dead and ascended to the Father, we await with joyful hope his return in glory.

     Nevertheless, despite the victory of Jesus over death, the attack of evil continues. 

     The sacrifice of Christ on the cross is unique.  His death on Calvary completes and surpasses all the other sacrifices of the Old Testament. Nevertheless, Christ´s reign is to be fulfilled with his Second Coming in glory.  Until that day occurs, Satan continues his attack even though he has been already conquered definitively by Christ´s sacrifice on Calvary (cf. CCC 671).

    In our own times, it is not hard to notice an ever-increasing presence of evil powers in the world.  The battle continues and it seems as if humanity is out of control. 

    The perversions of a world that has rejected the Savior of the world continues to carry much of humanity down the blind road of self-destruction.  The crisis of our age is rooted in the presumption that we can decide for ourselves what is good and evil without reference to God.

    The reality of the risen Jesus fills us with peace and consolation because he is truly with us.  His resurrection assures us of his final victory over evil.  The genuineness of Easter keeps us from worry, fear, and discouragement.  It sustains us in times of trial and it opens the heart to the expectation of eternal life.  However, this Easter should inspire us to be apostles of life because Jesus is the resurrection and the life. 

    “We are the people of life because God, in his unconditional love, has given us the Gospel of life and by this same Gospel we have been transformed and saved.  We have been ransomed by the ´Author of life´ at the price of his precious blood.  Through the waters of Baptism we have been made a part of him, as branches which draw nourishment and fruitfulness from the one tree.  Interiorly renewed by grace of the Spirit, who is the Lord and giver of life, we have become a people for life and we are called to act accordingly” (Evangelium Vitae, John Paul II, #79.1)

    The culture of death makes itself manifest in numerous ways throughout our modern world.  Abortion, euthanasia, excessive use of capital punishment and continuous wars are a concern to us all.  However, of all of these terrible manifestations of the culture of death, abortion is the worse of them all.

    If we can destroy innocent human life inside of the womb of a mother, and this no longer shocks us or concerns us, then nothing else will ever shock us or gain our concern. 

    If a society can justify the killing of an innocent unborn child, then there is no limit as to what else a society can justify regarding any other person.

    This is why if we really desire to have respect for the sick, the elderly and the dying; if we really want to curb the incorrect use of capital punishment; and if we truly desire lasting peace throughout the world, the first thing that we must assure is the right to life of the unborn child.

    As long as abortion remains an unchecked course of action, violence and injustice will continue to submerge the world in a continual spiral of chaos. 

    The Church must not, and cannot remain silent. 

    The issue of abortion becomes obscured when it is lumped together on an equal basis with every other social issue that concerns us.  Wisdom allows us to make objective distinctions and carefully understand the causes and effects of sinful human behavior on society.

    Ideologies only polarize the Church and obscure the efficacy of its mission here on earth. 

    As we joyfully celebrate the bodily resurrection of the Risen Lord, let us renew our commitment to the cause of life and the building up of a new culture of life. 

    However, given the present intensity of the battle for life, many have become discouraged.  Many maybe tired of the battle. 

    My dear friends remember the words of St. Teresa of Avila: “Let nothing trouble you.  Let nothing frighten you.  Everything passes.  God never changes.  Patience obtains all.  Whoever has God, wants for nothing.  God alone is enough” (Poesías 30).

    Abandon yourself into the loving hands of an awesome God that loves us unconditionally.  Allow yourself to be purified. Do not let yourself be consumed by anger, anxiety, frustration, discouragement or resentment.  Enter into the dark night of the spirit.  Do not be afraid.  Allow yourself to be a transparent witness of the God of life. 

    —–

    Father James Farfaglia is the pastor of Saint Helena of the True Cross of Jesus Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, Texas.  Father has a hard hitting blog calledIllegitimi non carborundum.  He has also published a book calledMan to Man: A Real Priest Speaks to Real Men about Marriage, Sexuality and Family Life. He is a contributing writer to Catholic Online. 

     – –

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    the carrying of the Cross

    “Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.  So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).”  John 19:16-17

    most people have moles.  some have only a few, others have too many.  a mole is a pigment or spot  which occurs when cells grow in a cluster instead of being spread throughout the skin.  sometimes it is  considered a birthmark.

    in Filipino culture, the position of some moles in one’s body has corresponding meanings.  a mole on the nape means one has an extraordinary appeal to the opposite sex.  so that if you are a female, expect that you’ll have lots and lots of male admirers.  a mole at the back means one is lazy; and if on the foot means one is likely to wander.

    one famous saying is that if  someone has a mole on his shoulder, he is “pasang-krus  (translated in english as “cross-bearer”).  this means one will live a life of everlasting suffering and hardship.  imagine the horror of a mother when she sees for the first time, that the infant she bore has that mole exactly where it was not supposed to be.

    but come to think of it, all of us has a Cross to carry, with or without that dreaded mole.  the Lord never promised that our journey on earth will be a party.  there will always be obstacles along the way.  yet if we walk together with Christ and focus on our destiny, no burden is too heavy that we cannot bear it.