Spring always speak to me of hope and a new creation.
An assurance that after the gloom of winter,
the earth comes back alive with an explosion of colors and fresh life.
For no matter how dark and dreary winter is,
spring augers the the coming back to life of everything that lives.
You see, I sometimes struggle with belief in eternal life:
how can we live forever when everything eventually dies and rots?
I may find some affirmation of eternal live in science
It is now an accepted fact that matter is indestructible.
Ice melts and disappears but water it turns into is the same is the same H2O.
When heated up the water disappears
but the H2O persists and is transformed into steam or vapor or clouds.
And so it is with other matter.
One form may disappear; only to be transformed into another form.
But the amount of matter and energy remains the same.
I often think that out of single molecule (a singularity),
God can create a whole new universe.
In the beginning, the big bang was an intense explosion of light and energy.
The entire universe then was entirely made of simple elements, like hydrogen.
Over billions of years, these simple atoms habe been
transformed into more and more complex elements.
What Teilhard de Chardin described and termed as
Cosmogenesis – the evolution of the physical universe,
Biogenesis – the emergence of life,
Noogenesis – the development of consciousness,
the consciousness that we human beings are.
Even now, I believe my God is transforming me,
slowly but surely, into something more sophisticated –
bigger, better and more enduring, more loving and more giving.
Yes, somehow spring tells me how eternal life is possible.
A Creator who can make the whole universe from a single atom
can also guarantee that I will live forever.
Today is the feast day of St. Joseph.
Today should be the ‘Catholic’ celebration of Fathers’ Day.
One of the names by which Jesus was known is “the son of the carpenter”.
There are a number of things about being a father I picked up from Joseph.
Fatherhood is very much like passing a threshold.
Or like crossing a bridge over to the other side,
excited by the unknown and thrilled by the adventure.
I had ideas what is on the other side;
but I got a lot more than I ever imagined.
Sure, there were difficulties;
but they fade into the background when I count the blessings and joys of fatherhood.
Joseph was a man of few words.
I can be very talkative and noisy yet there are many times
I have had to hold back my tongue as a father.
As a father, I learned to be kind more often than to be right all the time.
Like Joseph, I have been guided by dreams, of which I have a lot.
I have dreams for my family, dreams for each of my sons,
and now dreams for my apos.
And what a deep joy and delight it is when I get to see those dreams realized.
Joseph must have been bewildered many times
about the things happening in their family,
often not comprehending these things.
And so have I.
Life has brought us to so many places,
shared so many events and happenings,
enjoyed so many moments of sheer happiness and fun.
I would often wonder why and how;
but always grateful for all the blessings.
Joseph stayed on strong in his faith,
(He took Mary as his wife, where a lesser man would have abandoned her.)
a source of support and strength for Jesus and Mary,
(His influence on Jesus was palpable that he was referred to as a carpenter’s son.)
always compassionate and caring.
( Jesus’ first lessons about love and compassion must have been at the feet of Joseph.)
And so I pray that I too will be like him.
Market forces today drive businesses and the world economy.
Markets are supposed to be the most efficient ways to distribute goods and services.
If everyone worked for his own enlightened self-interest,
things would eventually work out right in the end for everyone.
People will get what they need and there will be no poverty.
But all too soon greed and selfishness come into the picture;
then inequalities happen and poverty spreads.
How can a handful of people be billionaires (about a thousand of them)
when almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.
Often, I think of all what is going wrong in the world
and it is so easy to lose hope and even lose faith.
But if I look closely and really pay attention to facts,
the world has actually gotten better.
In a special issue of Time magazine early this year, with Bill Gates as Guest Editor,
that is exactly what several people did.
And their conclusion, our world is indeed getting better.
- In 1990, more than a third of the global population lived in extreme poverty (the living on $2.50 a day threshold); today only about a tenth do. That is billions taken out of extreme poverty.
- Infant mortality has gone down from over 12 million a year to about 5 million a year now, going from 1990 until today. And the goal now is to get it below 2.5 million by 2030. One of the reasons for these numbers are the concerted efforts to contain childhood diseases. We have, for example, gotten rid of smallpox and on the verge of getting rid of polio.
Christ knew something about life and living
when he preached His Gospel of Life and of Love.
Yes, life can be difficult and He was willing to die on the cross
just to show us how to deal with life.
Life itself is a great gift and for that alone I am eternally grateful.
Like, nothing speaks better of the freshness and newness of life,
of hope and renewal than the streaks of first light at the break of dawn.
Every morning I wake up is another day in my gift of life.
Light is the energy that suffuses our entire world and keeps everything alive.
I imagine grace to be the divine light that sustains us
and enable us to be, to achieve and to become.
This is the Christ who promised eternal life to us, not death.
He proclaimed a good news where the hungry are fed,
And the lonely visited.
The last become first.
And sadness is turned into joy beyond measure.
The splendor that was Egypt and Persia – buried.
The glory that was Rome and Greece – gone.
The magnificence that was the Aztecs and the Incas – in ruins.
Yet the world, our world, endures.
With even more lavish splendor, greater glory and more amazing magnificence.
And we, as a species, persist on wanting
to bury, destroy and ruin our best accomplishments.
There are days I am simply overwhelmed
by the magnitude of the problems in the world
and then feel utterly helpless at the puniness of what I can do.
I have to remind myself of the strength and beauty there is in smallness.
In the vastness of the universe, we are but stardust
but what we have built on earth is simply awesome.
Just a small fraction (about 1%) differentiates us from apes
and yet there is a world of difference between us.
Micro-nutrients, infinitesimal in quantities, are vital to life.
A pinch of salt adds infinite flavor to a dish.
A whiff of a favorite scent is enough to bring back a flood of memories.
And we get to live life one day at a time.
Things will get done in due time.
And ‘in due time’ is God’s time.
In the face of all the evil and imperfections in this world,
of which I am often a part of and a contributor,
my efforts to make good may seem puny and even futile.
Sometimes, it seems Satan is gaining the upper hand in the cosmic battle against evil.
Good people are persecuted or misunderstood.
Bad ones prosper and have the power and fame.
‘Satan’ means ‘adversary’ and refers to all that stands against the goodness of God.
I may live in an economic environment
where greed and selfishness are glorified as virtues.
I may live in a social environment
where taking advantage of the weak and the helpless is deemed acceptable.
I may live under a corrupt government,
where bad legislation oppresses the innocent,
and unfair taxes enrich the powerful.
By myself, there does not seem much I can do.
Much less change an institution or even the people in it.
But I may be called by God to protest against wrong-doing
or to proclaim what is good and true,
or to celebrate and propagate what is beautiful.
I can also pray!
The cross used to be the mark of a criminal.
Now, it is the symbol of the triumph of good over evil,
of life over death and of light over darkness.
Posted in Evil, Faith
Tagged Beauty, Truth
God is the Lord of the Unexpected.
The Master of the Paradoxical.
The Sovereign of what is Contradictory.
He created Light out of darkness by His simple Word.
He drew Life from inert elements.
He writes straight with crooked lines.
He brings happiness to those who fear Him.
And brings them joys in their times of sorrow.
He makes all things beautiful in His time.
Jesus is the Lord of the Unexpected.
He dined with sinners and tax collectors
who were shunned by polite society.
He is the Master of the Paradoxical.
The Jews scorned the Samaritans.
Yet, he made one the paragon of what a good neighbor is.
The sick, the widows, the poor and the children
lived at the fringes of society during his time on earth.
He sought them out to heal them, to make them whole,
to make them holy in the sight of God, the Father.
He is Sovereign of what is Contradictory.
He promised to make the last first and the first last.
He taught we had to die in order to come into eternal life.
We lead fractured and often paradoxical lives,
given to pain and suffering,
condemned to suffer the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’.
Many wise men (poets, artists, saints, great leaders, and even some men of science)
have taught us that the answer to all the ache and longing in our hearts
is love and caring, giving and sharing, passion and compassion.
So we fall in love and give ourselves to caring for others
– only to be hurt some more.
Man seeks wisdom and knowledge
– and in his quest for learning becomes even more doubting and at times even cynical. Meanwhile, those of simple and unquestioning minds
see the world with eyes of wonder
where every new experience is an awesome one.
God is with us.
He is here.
And yet we do not see nor hear Him.
Posted in Faith, Mystery
There is evil in the world and it is alive and active in many places,
among many people, in many different events.
It feels like reason and even basic common sense have fled human hearts
and have turned us all into brutish beasts.
Irrationality and pure instinctual behavior are the new normal.
Like, we have transformed our cities into the jungles we came from.
It is easy to be enraged and indignant over big crimes and scandalous wrongdoings:
great injustices, extreme cruelty, massive frauds and corruption.
Those who should lead us morally and righteously
are the very first to break and flaunt the rules of basic human decency.
It feels like we are a herd of crazed animals,
rushing headlong into our common destruction.
And in the midst of such widespread breakdown of reason and morality,
it is easy to overlook small and petty bad behavior.
I sometimes catch myself feeling envy over the good fortune of others,
or feeling schadenfreude over their misery,
or nurturing hurts and refusing to forgive others.
These tend to fester and weaken my spirit in the long run.
I am as much in need of grace and salvation
as those I would condemn for their wrongdoings.
Lent is a good time to reflect on this reality.
The coming spring holds out the promise of our enduring capacity for renewal.