Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sharper Than A sWORD



 I noticed today that there is nothing in Google Images for Father James (McTavish)  book Sharper than a sWord. So let us rectify that. I included a third party write up of the book below. For more information on the work of Father James and Verbum Dei you may go to their blogspot which I conveniently co edit. 


Easter and the phoenix

I was wondering what to write about in this Easter Sunday column when a package arrived from my friend from high school, Marissa Ampil. I remember she had told me she would send over a copy of the book “Sharper than the Sword,” a compilation of Sunday homilies by Fr. James McTavish of the Verbum Dei Missionaries. Thank you, Marissa, for the timely gift and for saving my hide!
The Verbum Dei Missionaries was founded in 1963 by Fr. Jaime Bonet in Spain and was granted pontifical approval in 2000. Now present in over 30 countries around the world, the community is also present in Manila, Quezon City, Tagaytay and Cebu, with a lay community in Cagayan de Oro. The order’s charism is centered on evangelization and formation of lay people.
One of them was Father McTavish, who hails from Scotland (though we haven’t met, I can just imagine his accent), and who was a practicing pediatric plastic surgeon (he is a graduate of Cambridge University) until he heard his “call.”
Describing this call, Father McTavish says: “I realized that the Word of God is so sharp, sharper than any sword or scalpel. I just wanted to announce it and set the world on fire with love for Jesus. As a plastic surgeon I had enjoyed my career so much, trying to reconstruct various wounds, but Jesus, the ‘Good Doctor’, asked me to reconstruct his people.”
Below are excerpts from Father McTavish’s homily for Easter Sunday. For the full text and for the rest of his homilies for the year, you may buy your own copies of “Sharper than the Sword” at the Verbum Dei House in Varsity Hills Subdivision, Loyola Heights in Quezon City.
* * *
When I first met the Verbum Dei community in Sydney, Australia, after a few months I got the chance to go to the Philippines to spend time with the Verbum Dei community there. While I was away I lent the Sisters my little car, it was a Daihatsu Charade. A severe hailstorm struck Sydney and damaged property and cars. When I returned to Sydney after the enjoyable Philippines trip I phoned up the Sisters to inquire about my beloved little car. I was worried about it and asked them if the front windscreen had been smashed. I was relieved upon hearing that it was not. As I walked to their house to pick up my car I was thanking God that my car had been saved. That was until I saw my car. True enough the front windscreen was intact but the rest of the car was smashed to smithereens! The other windows were broken and it had hundreds of deep dents where the large hailstones had struck it. I started to complain to God. Then I discovered that all cars affected by the storm would get a full insurance rebate so I thanked God once again! One way we can live a risen life is by being more generous, especially with what we have.
* * *
The Lord is also risen in our relationships, in that relationship that maybe we have taken for granted, in the relationship that maybe is strained or dead. Here the Lord has resurrected! It reminds me of the Christian art in catacombs. Sometimes the Lord’s resurrection is symbolized by the phoenix. This mythical bird after its death in fire would rise up again from the ashes. St. Clement (the fourth Pope) in his first epistle to the Corinthians cites the phoenix as an emblem of the resurrection. “Let us consider that wonderful sign (of the resurrection) which takes place in Eastern lands, that is, in Arabia and the countries round about. There is a certain bird which is called a phoenix. This is the only one of its kind, and lives five hundred years. And when the time of its dissolution draws near that it must die, it builds itself a nest of frankincense, and myrrh, and other spices, into which when the time is fulfilled, it enters and dies. But as the flesh decays a certain kind of worm is produced, which, being nourished by the juices of the dead bird, brings forth feathers. Then, when it has acquired strength, it takes up that nest in which are the bones of its parent, and bearing these it passes from the land of Arabia into Egypt, to the city called Heliopolis. And, in open day, flying in the sight of all men, it places them on the altar of the sun, and having done this, hastens back to its former abode. The priests then inspect the registers of the dates, and find that it has returned exactly as the five hundredth year was completed.”
* * *
Of course the description of St. Clement is rather colorful—well, he is writing in the second century AD and if he had Google, one quick search would have confirmed that the phoenix is actually a mythical creature. Still, it is beautiful to cite from early Christian writing and see that the analogy of faith still holds true today. St. Clement then asks: “Do we then deem it any great and wonderful thing for the Maker of all things to rise up again those who have piously served Him in the assurance of a good faith, when even by a bird He shows us the mightiness of His power to fulfill His promise?”
* * *
Christ is risen, like the phoenix and death no longer has power over him. We are all called to be witnesses of his resurrection. How can we be witnesses?
…Well, we can eat and drink with Jesus in the Eucharist, the sacrament of his body and blood, a privileged place to open our eyes of faith, to see his risen presence there… We need to pray, folks! We need to contemplate the Easter mystery and in our prayer to experience the risen Christ. In this way we can truly become witnesses of the resurrection!

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Why Did The Pinoy Cross The Road?

Because there was a sign saying not to.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Should Be Good For Those Rare Songs

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Filipino voters should be blamed for the Philippines’ problems

Unexpected emergency today. The eve of our elections, Get Real Philippines was inaccessible. Timing is suspect. It may or not may not be from this post here. Whatever the case this has to be read.  This being mother's day, let us do our Mother's proud by taking full advantage of life they have given us by improving lives of others.  Make every voter you know as educated as they can be. 


Filipino voters should be blamed for the Philippines’ problems

I don’t think there is a point in holding elections in the Philippines. It’s so expensive and the whole process just disrupts normal activities and keeps Filipinos from moving forward. What is the point in going through something that won’t even change or improve how things are being run in the country anyway?
Before every election, the candidates use literally the same song and dance routine to entertain the voters. After the election is over, the candidates go back to doing everything they can to protect their family’s interests and virtually nothing that could benefit the rest of the population. It’s just ridiculous.
[Photo courtesy When in Manila.]
If the Filipino voters are going to choose and elect their public servants from candidates who come from the same families who have been ruling the country for decades, then these families ought to just take turns in having a go at those lucrative positions in government; something like a contractual term will do. That’ll save us from bearing with all the empty slogans, campaign jingles, and adolescent mudslinging in the months leading to Election Day.
It’s getting harder and harder to feel sorry for Filipinos nowadays. They keep blaming others for their miseries when the fact is they are the ones who vote for the same people who cause much of their miseries. One can be forgiven for saying that Filipino voters are simply stupid, arrogant and just a bunch of losers.
At the moment, there are 178 dynasties ruling 73 of the 80 provinces in the Philippines. Now, that’s a lot. Who voted for these people? The answer: the same people who continue to complain about their wretched lives. Even a convicted plunderer can run again and again for public office. As long as he is popular, he and the rest of his family’s chances of winning are strong. It’s so pathetic.
Every three years the voters have an opportunity to vote for someone new and yet they still choose to vote for the same bozos. If Filipinos are tired of the same families who are running the country, why can’t they demand the end of the ruling of the dynasties? It should be easy enough to do if the clamor to end it is loud enough. The clamor for better candidates should culminate on Election Day, when voters choose someone who doesn’t belong to a ruling elite and someone who holds a true vision for the country.
Some Filipinos think that blaming the candidates is the way to go. Yes, majority of the candidates are taking advantage of the voter’s ignorance. These candidates deserve the scrutiny and some of the valid criticism. However, let us not ignore the fact that the voters are responsible for choosing the candidates.
Take a candidate like Nancy Binay. She is using her father’s popularity to win the election. Some of her critics are actually too harsh on her when they should be directing their anger at the voters. Nancy Binay or Bam Aquino would not even think twice about running if they knew they didn’t have a chance to win – if they knew the voters use their heads. But they know that having a popular family name is enough for them to win. What Nancy or Bam are doing may be unethical or wrong but they are comforted by the fact that it was the people who want them to win.
[Photo courtesy Showbiz Government.]
According to Bobby Tuazon who is the director for policy studies at the Centre for People Empowerment in Governance, the country’s political landscape is “getting worse”. Here’s what he had to say about the mid-term elections:
Tuazon projected that when all votes are counted, 21 of the 24 Senate seats will fall under the control of political families. That includes former President Joseph Estrada’s two sons from different mothers. In the House of Representatives, about 80 percent of the 229 seats will also be dominated by dynasties.
“The government will remain under the control of the traditional political parties,” he said.
“These are the same elites who control the economic resources of the country,” Tuazon said. What is even more alarming for him is that clans are no longer content in fielding two or three family members each election cycle.
In the province of Maguindanao, where 34 journalists covering a campaign were killed in 2009, about 80 members of the Ampatuan family, which has been implicated in the massacre, are running for office.
I can’t help but think that Tuazon is letting the Filipino voters off the hook with regard to the worsening state of Philippine politics. It’s as if the Filipino people are not free to choose. Filipinos are free to vote for the right candidate but they choose the wrong ones most of the time. President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino is proof of this. I mean, why would the voters in Maguidananao still want to put any of the Ampatuan family in power after senior members of the clan allegedly massacred 52 innocent people? It’s so inconceivable.
Shaming the members of political dynasties does not even work. They have become dense and do not seem to have any shred of decency left. Since that is the case, shaming the voters could work instead in changing the political landscape in the Philippines. If the voters still prefer giving up their right to have a decent life, then members of the dynasties should just take turns ruling them, indeed. At the end of the day, Filipino voters should be blamed for how the public servants they voted for run the country.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

This is not For the Faint of Heart

I am addressing this all candidates that feel they can answer challenging questions. I will specifically address though to candidates who I feel may have more interesting answers or even non answers.
  • Aquino, Paolo Benigno IV A.
  • Madrigal, Maria Ana Consuelo A.
  • Casiño, Teodoro A.
  • Cayetano, Alan Peter S.
  • Trillanes, Antonio IV F.
  • Villar, Cynthia A.
  • Enrile, Juan Ponce Jr., C.
  • Legarda, Lorna Regina B.
  • Pimentel, Aquilino Martin III D
  • Binay, Maria Lourdes Nancy S.
  • Cojuangco, Margarita R.
  • Ejercito, Joseph Victor G.
  • Bro Ed Villanueva
What values do you stand for that you can substantiate with documented action?
How do you feel about candidates who intentionally try to look like historical figures?
How do you feel about candidates who include as part of their campaign a relative who died thirty years ago who they never met? Explain the relevance.
With the high cost of campaigning, do you expect to see some sort of financial compensation over the length of your term should you win?
Do you feel it is appropriate for a mid term president to be taken away from his hectic schedule in order to campaign for his party?
Once elected will you serve the nation/ the community or just supporters of your party?
Is it appropriate for an elected president to be always wearing his party's symbol as opposed to the national symbol?
What is your opinion on candidates who are already labeled as inexperienced and cerebrally unfit for the senate avoiding any and all opportunities to refute those suspicions?
How do you feel about candidates when given the opportunity to explain why they deserve to be voted for answer in such a way that their victory has no bearing on the ability to answer the question as stated?
When you go from "fiancée" to "husband/ wife". Will your behavior be drastically different? Can you refer to your track record?
How do you feel about candidates claim to represent God as part of their uniqueness?
Some first time senatorial candidates can not seem to shake the stigma of alleged past crimes. Do you believe this kind of behavior sets a good example for our citizens?
Do you believe that the Comelec should require candidates to be more accessible to the public in terms of intellectual discourse?
A year ago did you feel that the Chief Justice was held to a standard that the tribunal themselves did not live up to? If yes, what did you do about it? If no then state where that conviction comes from?
What does the Freedom of Information Act mean to you? Not as a politician, but as a citizen of the Philippines? Is there any documentation that substantiates your stand?
How did you feel about the CyberAct that was initially approved in 2012? Who did you feel it served? Why were there no countries that are more technologically advanced than us with a similar law? Were you aware that the law that was initially passed resembled what is being enforced in Iran? Whether you approved or disapproved of the law state examples from the time that the law was quietly passed and signed by the President to substantiate your stance on the issue.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Unorthodox Sound of Music Memories

As some of you might know I spend a lot of time keeping my grandmother company with her TV constantly on. She watches EWTN  (Catholic network) , news and musicals. One of my previous blogs was a memory triggered by her watching The King and I.  Tonight  the musical that was on her TV:

                                                                  Sound of Music

 I selected former Saint Chuck Muncie because he was mentioned in 
Don Reese's expose in Sports Illustrated

1) November 24 1980 .

Yes I have the date exact. This was not a major trauma. It is just that it was a Monday night and Monday night in the fall in  my high school days meant NFL football. This was 33 years ago and I still remember the other siblings out voting me for the TV. They all wanted to watch Sound of Music on TV. It did not matter that they saw it on Betamax three weeks ago. I wanted to watch the New Orleans Saints play the Los Angeles Rams. If I recall the game was on an hour tape delay in the West Coast  which is no big deal at a time where there was no Twitter, full time sports radio or even the Canadian version of ESPN. The football gods in their own sick way rewarded me for not maiming anyone that night. i can not remember if I was able to switch to the end of the game after the movie was over or during commercial. The final score was 27-7 Los Angeles. So the game could not have been that good. I also bet not one of my siblings will be surprised that I remember this.

2) December 1991. 

 I think it was a Sunday night and Sound of Music was on. Then Christopher Plummer was on screen and for the sake of conversation I told my mom that he was in a movie I saw the other day.

The movie
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country  

In his role there  he looked something like this. 

I just did the math. My mom's age back then is my age now. Dang. Mind blown. It has been a few years so I really forget my mom's exact words on knowing that the distinguished Captain Von Trapp twenty five years later was playing General Chang commanding a Bird of Prey.  I seem to recall she thought  the role  was beneath him, degrading , scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Or was she just describing me?


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Typical of Naive Noynoy Support

Originally found in

Multiply is now gone. How strange that I saved someone else's Multiply blog when I have lost so many of my own. At least the pictures anyway. I preserve this to remind myself what rationale it takes to be a yellow zombie. This guy truly worshiped Noynoy Aquino and it is because of thinking like this that lead to this country having the president we have now. I did not change one word. I don't have to.


Jan 11, '10 9:45 AM
for everyone

For those who want to Know Noynoy Aquino, read on. Remember that voting for a president is one of the biggest responsibilities that we are given in this life. And we all have to do our part in order to keep the future of our company as bright as possible. Here are some interesting facts about Noynoy Aquino that you might not know about.
Noynoy Aquino was born Benigno Simeon Cojuango Aquino III on the eight of February 1960. He is currently a senator but is dropping his place in order to run for President for the election next year as part of the Liberal party. 
Here are some among other interesting facts about him. He is a proud product of Ateneo University. During a coup d'etat that was staged by rebels way back in Cory Aquino’s term of presidency, there was an incident that led to the serious wounding of Noynoy. During the year 1998, Noynoy Aquino sat in the House of Representatives of Tarlac as elected in that year’s congress. Then last 2007, he became a Philippine Senator.
Of course, as a result of his bid for presidency, a deluge of criticism has been thrown his way. A lot of people, for example, say that he does not really deserve to even run for president because he has not enough accomplishments to show for. Neither is he vocal enough for his presence to be actually felt anywhere. It seems that he takes after his mother who was also soft spoken. And it seems that it is his sister Kris Aquino who inherited their father’s blatant honesty. 
In all those eleven years that Noynoy has been in the government seat, his main detractors note that there seems to be no major contribution to the legislative body from him. There seems to be not enough political will in Noynoy as well. After his mother’s well televised burial which the whole nation mourned, he was then approached by the party to head them as a presidential candidate. It does not really seem, even in just looking at Noynoy smiling shy demeanor, that he deserves to be president nor even really has enough political will to be president. Is he seems to just be riding the fame of his mother and father, something that is in very bad taste. 
But of course, none of these are true. It is a fact that Noynoy Aquino just needs to get the chance to be president and his parents’ legacy shall be continued especially since a son will never be able to stain such a high legacy.

5 CommentsChronological   Reverse   Threaded

jseracar wrote on Jan 11, '10
"But of course, none of these are true."

How can it be proven that he is not riding the fame of his parents? It is not under his control anyway. He deserves a chance, yes. But it is already a fact that, even though he wants it or not, many will vote for him just because they idolize his parents.

cornholiogogs wrote on Jan 11, '10
First you say you have information for us and I read about his schooling and an injury three decades ago. The fact he went to Ateneo does nothing for me, or if he went to La Salle or UP or UST or San Beda in terms of qualification of running the country . 

You bring up legitimate criticism then you dismiss the criticism without fact to back up the dismissal. That legitimate criticism is based on track record not nepotism. Not family name. You say he needs a chance but you do not define why he deserves that chance compared to the others running. Bloodlines is not a legitimate reason specially in this society. Is this a "basta" kind of argument? 

Noynoy is sadly riding the momentum of death.

I was hoping to read your article to give me a reason to reconsider my stance but if anything you have strengthened it.

jseracar wrote on Jan 11, '10
If it is a fact that he is not riding his parents' coattails... he should have not used the color yellow, and he should refrain putting his parents' faces and names on his campaign ads/materials...
Comment deleted at the request of the author.

hayok69 wrote on Feb 3, '10
pwede b humingi ng ribbon sticker para sa car?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Noynoy in BPI

I got this from the Facebook Group Showbiz Government. They in turn credit frequent contributor Jerry Ocampo. 


President NOYNOY walks into the Bank of Philippine Islands to cash a check. As he approaches the cashier he says, "Good morning Ma'am, would you please cash this check for me?"

Cashier: "It would be my pleasure sir. Could you please show me your ID?"

PNOY: "Honestly, I did not bring my ID with me as I didn't think there was any need to. I am President Noynoy Aquino III, the President of the Republic of the Philippines!"

Cashier: "Yes sir, I know who you are, but with all the regulations and monitoring of the banks because of impostors and forgers, etc., I must insist on seeing ID.

PNOY: "Just ask anyone here at the bank who I am and they will tell you. Everybody knows who I am."

Cashier: "I am sorry Mr. President but these are the bank rules and I must follow them.

PNOY: "I am urging you, please, to cash this check.

Cashier: "Look Mr. President, here is an example of what we can do. One day, Efren “Bata” Reyes came into the bank without ID. To prove he was Efren “Bata” Reyes he pulled out his cue stick and made a beautiful shot across the bank into a cup. With that shot we knew him to be Efren “Bata” Reyes and cashed his check." "Another time, Mon Fernandez came in without ID. He pulled out his basketball and made a fabulous hook shot whereas the ball landed in my thrash bin. With that shot we cashed his check. So, Mr. President, what can you do to prove that it is you, and only you, as the President of the Philippines?

PNOY stands there thinking, and thinking, and finally says, "Honestly, my mind is a total blank... There is nothing that comes to my mind. I can't think of a single thing. I have absolutely no idea what to do; I just don't have a clue".

Cashier: "Will that be large or small bills, Mr. President?

Moral of the story the best noynoy joke of all is his résumé

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Regret That I Have


It was 1984 if I recall. My mom said you want to watch King and I. Not the movie, the live musical with Yul Brynner. I said no. The movie is now playing in the room and that memory came back. My appreciation of movies and musicals has grown since then. I had since appreciated Westerns more and of course Yul Brynner in Magnificent Seven.

 Postscript to that story, Yul Brynner died a year later.