Segundo domingo de Adviento 2018

EVANGELIO DE LA MISA
(Lectura del santo Evangelio según San Lucas 3:1-6)

En el año quince del imperio de Tiberio César, siendo Poncio Pilato procurador de Judea, y Herodes tetrarca de Galilea; Filipo, su hermano, tetrarca de Iturea y de Traconítida, y Lisanias tetrarca de Abilene; en el pontificado de Anás y Caifás, fue dirigida la palabra de Dios a Juan, hijo de Zacarías, en el desierto. Y se fue por toda la región del Jordán proclamando un bautismo de conversión para perdón de los pecados, como está escrito en el libro de los oráculos del profeta Isaías: voz del que clama en el desierto: preparad el camino del Señor, enderezad sus sendas; todo barranco será rellenado, todo monte y colina será rebajado, lo tortuoso se hará recto y las asperezas serán caminos llanos. Y todos verán la salvación de Dios.

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La Inmaculada Concepción en la Historia de Filipinas

 

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“La Inmaculada de los Venerables”, óleo sobre lienzo por Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1678).

Hoy el mundo cristiano celebra la Fiesta de la Inmaculada Concepción. Es un artículo de fe del Catolicismo, la religión de innumerables personas del mundo hispano. El dicho dogma dice que María fue eligida por el Señor Dios (como anunciado por el Arcángel Gabriel) ser la madre de su único hijo, Jesucristo, el salvador del mundo y la segunda persona del Dios Trino. María no fue alcanzada por el pecado original sino que, desde el primer instante de su concepción, estuvo libre de todo pecado.

¿Sabían que, aunque la Fiesta de la Inmaculada Concepción fue declarada como un dogma Católico Romano el 8 de diciembre de 1954, la devoción a la Inmaculada Concepción ya estaba extendido en España? ¡Y la misma devoción hasta llegó a las Islas Filipinas en el siglo 16!

La Basílica Menor y Catedral Metropolitana de la Inmaculada Concepción, ampliamente conocido como Manila Cathedral o Catedral de Manila, fue consagrada a la Inmaculada Concepción en 1571 (todavía no era una basílica en aquel entonces). Diez días después, cuando la iglesia fue reconstruido, la diócesis hizo Nuestra Señora de la Inmaculada Concepción como su santa patrona.

La fiesta de la Inmaculada Concepción es un Día Santo de Obligación.

Nuestra Señora de la Inmaculada Concepción, santa patrona de Filipinas, ruega por nosotros.

PEPE ALAS

Basílica Menor y Catedral Metropolitana de la Inmaculada Concepción en la ciudad murada de Intramuros.

 

Mi identidad nacional

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Mi cristianismo (catolicismo) y mi idioma (castellano) completan mi ser filipino. Si quito de la fibra de mi ser uno o dos de estos elementos centrales de mi identidad nacional, entonces me convertirá en un mero “filipino sólo por la ciudadanía”. La identidad filipina verdadera y completa dentro de mí dejará de existir. Es nunca suficiente hablar en castellano ni saber la historia verdadera de Filipinas para hacerse un filipino verdadero. El aspecto religioso del mismo tema no debe ser pasada por alto ni minimizado. No estoy orgulloso de ser Pinoy ni Pilipino — ¡estoy orgulloso de ser FILIPINO!

Publicado originalmente en ALAS FILIPINAS.

 

Primer domingo de Adviento 2018

Hoy empieza el período navideño. Para los católicos tradicionales, este período festivo comienza con el primer domingo de Adviento y termina en la Fiesta de la Candelaria (2 de febrero). Si bien se dice que Filipinas tiene el período de Navidad más largo (a partir del 1 de septiembre), tal creencia es secular y en el mejor de los casos comercial Oficialmente, la temporada navideña realmente comienza el primer domingo de Adviento de acuerdo con el año litúrgico cristiano.

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Captura de pantalla de Kike Cabrera.

EVANGELIO DE LA MISA
(Lectura del santo Evangelio según San Lucas 21:25-28, 34-36)

En aquel tiempo, dijo Jesús a sus discípulos: «Habrá signos en el sol y la luna y las estrellas, y en la tierra angustia de las gentes, enloquecidas por el estruendo del mar y el oleaje. Los hombres quedaran sin aliento por el miedo y la ansiedad ante lo que se le viene encima al mundo, pues los astros se tambalearán. Entonces verán al Hijo del hombre venir en una nube, con gran poder y majestad. Cuando empiece a suceder esto, levantaos, alzad la cabeza: se acerca vuestra liberación… Tened cuidado: no se os embote la mente con el vicio, la bebida y los agobios de la vida, y se os eche encima de repente aquel día; porque caerá como un lazo sobre todos los habitantes de la tierra. Estad siempre despiertos, pidiendo fuerza para escapar de todo lo que está por venir y manteneros en pie ante el Hijo del hombre.»

Whatever happened to Filipino dignity?

I don’t post stuff like this, but this is too much. It made my blood really boil!

This shameful video went viral a few days ago. It’s about a Turkish national, later identified to be a certain Yuksel Ibrahim, disrespecting a traffic enforcer along Buendía Avenue in San Pedro Macati (Makati City). For sure, he made a traffic violation, the reason he was flagged down (it was later discovered that he was driving without a license). But he refused to budge, resisted arrest. As can be seen on this video, the Turk even laid his hands on the traffic enforcer (reports say his name is Michael Orcino) and shoved his motorcycle down to the concrete pavement.

It is unthinkable for Filipinos to behave in such a way in other countries, especially in Muslim land. We are very obedient, polite, and law-abiding overseas. Why let foreigners behave like this in our own native land? What’s infuriating about this video is that there are lots of Filipinos around, but they couldn’t put a stop to this imbecilic Turk. Filipinos swallow their dignity and pride in other countries. Why do the same in our own native land?! This is too much!

Yuksel Ibrahim is an Arabic name. He is most probably Muslim. And he’s going for lost in a Catholic country! Could you imagine a Catholic doing the same in a Muslim country?

But the Filipinos seen in this video (including Orcino) are, to my eyes, not true Filipinos. I call them “Bobong Pinóy“. They’re no longer the true Filipinos in the mold of José Rizal, Marcelo del Pilar, Apolinario Mabini, Claro M. Recto, etc. These are the moronic cowards who grew up speaking in Taglish, Anglo-Saxonized (Americanized) to the core, lapsed Catholics who attend only the Novus Ordo (and whenever they feel like it), and who enjoy teleseryes, Pinoy Big Brother, and other TV garbage from sunrise to sunset as if they have become part of their very existence.

A long time ago in Madrid, a hot-tempered Antonio Luna slapped, spat at, and challenged Mir Deas, a Spanish journalist, to a duel when the latter made insults to the former (Mir Deas even mistook Antonio for his brother Juan the painter). And to think that Antonio wasn’t even in Filipinas. A long time ago in Mindanáo, Filipinos (to say “Christian Filipino” during that time was redundant; Filipino was enough) under Governor-General Juan Antonio de Urbiztondo routed pesky Muslim pirates in Joló and other parts (Rizal even wrote a poem about it). Whatever happened to Filipino dignity? Has it gone yellow because of too much acquiescence to both Chinese and US imperialism? Perhaps other countries already noticed this softening of the once mighty Filipino spirit. No wonder they disrespect us. No wonder they ship containers filled with garbage to our ports.

So don’t blame me if I approved of that beating those imperious Aussie cagers got from Gilas Pilipinas several months ago. Don’t blame me if I cheered when Mayor Herbert Bautista slapped an arrogant Chinese drug dealer twice on national TV years ago.

If only I were there in Buendía, I swear, I would have bloodied this Turk’s face and destroyed his car. I would have even cursed at the traffic enforcer for cowardice. I am not a violent person. I do not condone violence. But I cannot for the life of me allow this infuriating scene to happen in front of my eyes. I can never for the life of me allow a Muslim, an agent of شيطان, wreak havoc in a Christian land. No, certainly not in my house.

Porque soy FILIPINO ORGULLOSO, no soy Bobong Pinoy.

Sustainable development: the key to protecting the environment

This morning, the Manila Cathedral held the launching event for the Living Laudato si’ Philippines movement.

La imagen puede contener: 1 persona, texto

If you will recall, Laudato si’ is the second encyclical of Pope Francisco published three years ago. This encyclical dealt with wanton consumerism, irresponsible development, environmental degradation, and global warming. Through Laudato si’, the pontiff called all peoples of the world to take a swift and unified global action to save the environment through sustainable development.

Aside from fighting the leyenda negra by attempting to bring back the Spanish language in order to redeem our Filipino Identity, environmentalism is my other advocacy. In fact, If I’m ever asked which between the two I’m more concerned about, I’d choose the latter in a heartbeat. I may not write much about it, but I support it through action: I do not litter, I teach my kids to do the same, we segregate our waste, and we respect plant and animal life. Besides, so much has already been written about environmentalism that any views from me will be considered a mere drop of water in an already filled bucket. And there’s too much writing, but so little action. Anyway, all I can say is this: much of Filipinas before, especially during the supposedly “exploitation-filled” Spanish times, was a haven for nature, fauna, and flora. This beauty inspired the creativity of many a poet and artist. But many of these natural wonders today are either gone or polluted, replaced by “progress” in the guise of unmitigated real estate development and a hurried and careless urbanization of picturesque and ecologically friendly towns. All this in the name of capitalistic greed and avarice, a consequence of “gobbleization”.

When I started La Familia Viajera a few years ago, my friend Arnaldo warned me that it’s going to be a “logistics nightmare”. But the desecration of our country’s natural resources is a major factor why I wanted my family to travel with me. Traveling, at least for me, is fueled not solely by my passion to search for traces of our country’s Hispanic past, nor are they spurred exclusively by a responsibility to document maltreated Fil-Hispanic heritage sites. I wanted my family to visit our country’s natural wonders because I fear that one day, any time soon, those natural wonders will soon disappear. Or that they might meet the same fate as the Pásig River or once lush forests that are now commercial centers. That is why as much as possible, I wanted to travel regularly, with all members of my family, from my wife down to our youngest daughter, all seven of us. Those travels are not just for my enjoyment but for my children’s as well. Furthermore, traveling is not merely for enjoyment, it’s educational. And when my children grow up and those natural beauties (including heritage sites) that we’ve visited through the years will have disappeared, they would still be able to see them, at least through our blog’s photos (unfortunately, Arnaldo’s warning came to pass: we’re no longer updating our family blog because we couldn’t afford to travel anymore).

I fear not for myself but for my children with regard to environmental degradation. But of course. My generation is probably the last that did not worry about an environmental apocalypse. Let me just borrow a few lines (written in original Tagálog spelling, another one of my unpopular advocacies) from Filipino folk band Asín to explain this fear:

Ang mğa batang ñgayón lang isinilang,
¿May hañguin pa cayáng matiticmán?
¿May mğa puno pa cayá siláng aaquiatín?
¿May mğa ilog pa cayáng lalañguyán?

Right now, it’s not enough to be simply “environmental” in order to save our natural resources. Protecting the environment nowadays is not just about throwing one’s waste in a designated trash bin or turning off electrical appliances that are not in use. It is not just about tree planting events. This is not just about hating illegal logging. Environmentalism is something that “needs to be done”, but without derailing the economy.

The keyword here is sustainable development. The International Institute for Sustainable Development explains this much better:

All definitions of sustainable development require that we see the world as a system—a system that connects space; and a system that connects time.

When you think of the world as a system over space, you grow to understand that air pollution from North America affects air quality in Asia, and that pesticides sprayed in Argentina could harm fish stocks off the coast of Australia.

And when you think of the world as a system over time, you start to realize that the decisions our grandparents made about how to farm the land continue to affect agricultural practice today; and the economic policies we endorse today will have an impact on urban poverty when our children are adults.

We also understand that quality of life is a system, too. It’s good to be physically healthy, but what if you are poor and don’t have access to education? It’s good to have a secure income, but what if the air in your part of the world is unclean? And it’s good to have freedom of religious expression, but what if you can’t feed your family?

The concept of sustainable development is rooted in this sort of systems thinking. It helps us understand ourselves and our world. The problems we face are complex and serious—and we can’t address them in the same way we created them. But we can address them.

The recent case of Borácay’s controversial closure is a clear picture of what strict implementation of environmental measures can do. In only six months time, Borácay was able to heal itself from the “cesspool” that it once was due to indiscriminate business practices. Blueprints for sustainable development programs can now enter the scene in order to maintain the small island’s ecological continuity. The success of such programs can later be applied to a much bigger setting.

Going back to Laudato si’. In the said encyclical, Pope Francisco reiterates the traditional teachings of Christianity regarding the environment: that creation possesses inherent goodness (“each creature possesses its own particular goodness and perfection”), and that dignity does not depend on human utility. While we humans are a part of creation, we were set apart by God to “cultivate and care for” the gift of creation (Genesis 2:15). This responsibility is not for His sake in the first place but for ours and our children’s children.

Lastly, it will not hurt nor demean our businesses if we add some spirituality to them, or at least, some spirituality in our business objectives. Spirituality in a way tends to ward off unchecked utilitarianism in our commercial endeavors, thus evading any eventuality that might lead to environmental harms.

The foregoing makes me wonder: are there still Catholic CEOs and board of directors who pray the Rosary?

Click here and here for more information about sustainable development, and here for Pope Francisco’s encyclical on the environment and sustainable development.

We should all act NOW.