The Abused Christian “traditions”
By Apolinario Villalobos
“Tradition” has been abused by those who want to have a scapegoat for unreasonable spending, when all that was desired was to show off their financial opulence.
In countries where Christianity has become a solid foundation of the people’s lives, “traditional fiestas” become good reasons to spend the whole year’s scrimping on cash. Worst, the selfish desire not to be outdone by neighbors in feeding well-wishers, make some to run to pawnshops and loan sharks for the needed money. After the festivities, the doubled effort to save begins again.
Aside from fiestas, Christmastime is one tradition that Christian countries cannot let pass by, without having laid out festive fares on the table, new clothes, new toys, etc. The avaricious celebration of Christmas that has gone beyond excessiveness has lately, drawn the attention of the pope himself. Known as the poor people’s pope, Franciso has been calling on the faithful to observe and practice compassion rather than lavishness.
Earlier, traditions are supposed to have been incorporated in Christian rituals in order not to alienate the pagan converts from what they used to observe, but some enterprising parties have “commercialized” them. The supposedly beneficiaries of these effort have practically, been waylaid from their real purpose. As a result, these abused traditions have been passed down throughout centuries of observance, virtually making them integral components of the people’s lives.
Today, especially in the provinces, even the peasants who could hardly live on decent meals during ordinary days, have at least two special dishes prepared for guests during fiestas; some of them fatten pigs or goats to be butchered during fiestas; ordinary folks who could barely make a living out of an irregular source of income, have Christmas lights and colorfully-decked Christmas trees at home, and new clothes for the whole family for Christmas, forgetting that all they need to do is just attend Mass in anticipation of Jesus’ “coming.
The Church’s tolerance to this abusive observation is part of its laudable effort in keeping the Christian flocks intact. The same observed tolerance is given to the “branches” of Christianity, whose members have become fanatical in treading their new-found “path” towards Jesus. They untiringly raise their hands towards heaven as they sing praises – the same hands that some of them refuse to extend to their earthly brethren who need help!
Don’t Be Flattered by the Praise
Nor Be Discouraged by a Fault
By Apolinario Villalobos
Praise and fault should both be viewed as inspirations. One should not stop where praise is given nor be discouraged when a fault has been committed. It should be remembered that living is a continuous striving for the better. When praise is given, it means that one is being encouraged to aim for a higher level of accomplishment. When one commits a fault, it means that he should employ another means to attain his goal, and not for him to cease from striving.
Satisfaction is never a one hundred percent result based on impression. That is why in competitions there are judges. And, even though there is a so-called unanimous decision from the judges, there are still dissatisfied spectators in the audience. The elected government officials are not given a one hundred percent support by the constituents. Even Jesus did not please every Jew. And, God does not get one hundred percent devotion from His creatures as the world abounds with heretics – the ungrateful ones.
So, the next time you are praised, keep your feet on the ground, and just be nonchalant about it. On the other hand, if you commit a fault, admit it, and exert more effort and do your best the second time around.
The “Community Outreach ”
…a give and take effort
By Apolinario Villalobos
The effort of “reaching out” to the community sounds benign, caring, compassionate, generous, etc. This “effort” has given birth to Foundations and NGOs. What I know of such groups, is that they are supported by patrons whose generosity, they have solicited. Or they are maintained by the establishments and organizations that they represent.
However, there is a big “but” in the operation of these “generous” groups…as they also get some kind of a “rebate” for their “effort”. For the big establishments, the expenses they incurred for benevolent projects through their Foundations are tax deductible. And, aside from the tax deductions, the establishments that cater to the information and entertainment needs of the people, also get very significant mileage.
For other NGOs, people behind them, derive a direct “cut” from grants and donations. While there is no problem with popular establishments that regularly dole out financial and material help to the victims of catastrophes, the rest are being used as conduits for ill-gotten grants from the government, and worse, the existence of some are even fictitious, so are their projects!
There is a joke now, that brilliant guys who graduated even with honors from reputable universities but could not find a decent job, better establish an NGO. If an undergraduate woman who is now languishing in detention while awaiting a final verdict on her misdoings was able to amass wealth with her Foundations and NGOs, how much more if one is a magna or summa cum laude from a State University or colleges administered by religious educators?
Pope Francis And Jesus
By Apolinario Villalobos
Aside from Islam, there are other religions and even Christian sects that regard Jesus as a prophet, and not as the Son of God which the Universal Catholic Church professes. Nevertheless, be Jesus is the Son of God or a plain prophet, the fact is, he preached only goodness for mankind. During his time, he was misunderstood and even ridiculed for what his protagonists declared were against the traditional Law of the Jews. He was practically surrounded by his detractors who watched his every move.
Today, the people’s pope, Francis is going through the same harrowing experience. He is practically surrounded by his critics who believe that his views and ways are in contrary to the established rules of the Roman Catholic Church. If Jesus had his Pharisees, Saducees, etc. as detractors, today, Francis has hypocrite Catholic clerics and fanatics that surround him as his critics. Jesus tried to reach out to as many Jews as he could, in the same way that Francis today is doing, even using the social media as one of the means.
Jesus chose people who, others during the time viewed as sinners, to be his disciples, and Francis did the same by appointing the latest young cardinals whom his critics thought will give him headache. Despite the loyalty of affluent followers, Jesus opted to preach in the simplest manner. Today, Francis reaches out to the Catholic flock without much pomposity, even putting his life at risk by doing away with bullet-proof protections.
Jesus came out into the open when the time was rife with political upheaval due to corruption, hunger, hypocrisy and dissent. When Francis was chosen as the new pope, the world is tingling with violence, many countries are infected with corruption, and even the Vatican is overflowing with hypocrisy.
Both Jesus and Francis are like voices in the wilderness drowned in the cacophony of human chaos. And, both calls for mercy and compassion.
Francis, Santong Patron ng mga Hayop
…at ang bagong santo papa
Ni Apolinario Villalobos
Ang santong si Francis ay patron ng mga hayop. At, ang bagong santo papa ang unang gumamit ng pangalan niya nang mahirang ito na pinuno ng simbahang Romano Katoliko.
Nang hagupitin ng bagyong Yolanda ang Tacloban, mga karatig nitong bayan at probinsiya, isa ang bagong santo papa sa mga unang nagpadala ng pakikiramay sa mga nasalanta. Natanim sa isipan ng santo papa ang masidhing pagnanasa na makarating sa Tacloban upang personal na makiramay sa mga tao.
Sa pagdating ng bagong santo papa, dapat lahat ng mga taga-Senado at Kongreso, pati mga opisyal sa gobyerno ay dumalo sa misang pamumunuan niya ang pagganap sa Luneta, Linggo, 18 January. Sa okasyong yon kasi, maliban sa mga tao, magbabasbas din ang banal na papa ng mga hayop, upang isakatuparan ang pagka-tokayo niya sa patron ng mga ito!
Maliban sa mga una kong tinukoy na mga hayop, dapat umatend din ang mga hayop na drug lords, drug pushers, human traffickers, illegal recruiters, manggagantso, etc. Hindi nila dapat palampasin ang pagkakataong once in a lifetime na pagbasbas ng isang santo papa sa mga hayop!
Dadalo din pala ako upang makinig ng mga awit na ginawa para sa kanyang pagdating, at upang mabasbasan din…