St. Paul of the Cross Rising

t. Paul of the Cross is some four decades and four years old.

When other churches around the Philippines have been in existence for four centuries, mine started to build when I was a child.

I can still remember the wind-tossed stilts and nipa that was our make-shift chapel come Sundays, in a grassy slope beneath our valley.

Somewhere between then and now, a bigger chapel was constructed. Our community had grown.

Four years ago, a new parish priest by the name of Fr. Eymard Balatbat came to take care of us. Under his watch, a new St. Paul of the Cross comes to rise.

The construction of the new church is going on its second Christmas. A long time constructing, but hey, every one is excited.

For all the imperfect people.

The homily from a young visiting priest we had yesterday was funny. The priest talked about his vocation, as the Gospel was on the calling of the apostles.

The priest said that there was nothing earthshaking about his calling, his was just a simple response to a call he heard. But his family and friends have different opinions about his vocation, and continue to be bewildered by his being a priest. And, as gladly. he allows himself to be the butt of jokes come reunion time, as loved ones swipe their hands on him as if he is a holy icon. Ha ha ha. To them, he is the same guy, nothing super special.

But that is precisely the point. He is not super special. He is not the perfect guy. He has faults. That is why he was called.

God actually called on the imperfect ones to do the job for Him. Abraham is low-key, Noah a little dumb, Moses a coward, Jacob a deceiver, Joseph vengeful, David a wife stealer, Jonas an evader, Samson proud,

The new testament has quite an amazing list, too. Zacharias has a wobbly faith Joseph the carpenter had called feet, John the Baptist a loud hot-head, Magdalene a prostitute. Simon boastful, James has temperament, Zacchaeus a usurer, and Saul a persecutor, or killer of Christians.

These are not exactly the men, or woman, we would want to idolize. And yet, God picked them from many a perfect ones. But when they responded, they delivered.

So, it is not that you and I, imperfect as we are, that God has not chosen us. He has called us already, actually. It is our turn to make the response.

Have you?

If you haven’t, then, what are you waiting for? Time is of the essence, brother,

59 Questions on the Old Testament


1. On the first day of creation, God made the light. On the second day, God made the sky. What did God create on the sixth day?

2. God called the first man Adam. And God put him in paradise to live. What do you call Adam’s home?

3. Adam was blown man from the dust of the earth. From what was Eve made woman?

4. God bade Adam and Eve to partake of all the fruits of the trees in paradise, except for one. What tree is this?

5. What creature tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit?

6. Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain and Abel. Cain was a farmer and offered God vegetables? What is Abel’s work?

7. After Cain killed his brother Abel, man became very wicked. And God decided to destroy man, except for a good one, Noah. What did God ask Noah to build?

8. Noah has three sons who helped him build the ark. They were Ham, Shem and ____?

9. For forty days and forty nights, it rained so hard, and the flood destroyed all the living creatures. When the earth dried up, Noah and his family built an altar to thank God. God gave a sign , an ark of the covenant. What is this sign?

10. How old was Noah when he died?

11. Many years after Noah, man wanted to reach the heavens and see God. So they created a tower that will lead them to heaven. What is the name of the tower?

12. God called a good man Abraham to be the Father of All Nations, and his sons will be as many as the multitude of stars in the heavens. But his wife was barren. What is the name of his wife?

13. Abraham’s nephew lot dwelt in a sinful city called Sodom. God destroyed this city together with another. What is this other city?

14. In his old age, Abraham sired a son with Sarah. What is the name of this son who God asked Abraham to offer back to Him?

15. What is the name of Isaac’s wife?

16. Isaac and Rebecca bore twins. The elder one was hairy and hardworking, He is called Esau. The younger one was not hairy at all but his mother Rebecca loved him so dearly. What was he called?

17. It happened that one day, Esau came from the field hungry, and Jacob was cooking, so Esau asked for food. Jacob said that he would only give him food if he gives Jacob his birthright, Esau agreed. What did Esau exchange his birthright for?

18. Jacob fled his brother’s wrath. In time, he fell in love with a beauteous Rachel, and served her family for seven years. But when the time came to marry Rachel, his father-in-law put his elder daughter Leah in Rachel’s place. Thus, Jacob was also deceived, just as he did his father Isaac. With many wive, how many sons did Jacob sire?

19. Again, as it happened, Jacob favored his eleventh child, his son with Rachel. He called him his miracle child, for Rachel was supposed to be barren. What is the name of this miracle child?

20. The ten older brothers got jealous, and they threw Joseph into a pit, and later sold him to merchants traveling to Egypt. The brothers told Jacob that Joseph was devoured by wild animals. What proof did the brothers show Jacob that Joseph was dead?

21. In Egypt, Joseph was made a slave in the house of Putiphar, a captain of the Pharaoh’s army. However, Putiphar’s wife desired Joseph, and when he refused, Putiphar’s wife accused Joseph of molesting her. Joseph was thrown into prison where he interpreted the dreams of the Butler and the Baker. The dreams came true. When the Pharaoh was bothered by his pervading dream that nobody could interpret, the Butler spoke of the prisoner who could understand dreams. Joseph was summoned and he interpreted the dreams to mean seven years of plenty for Egypt followed by seven years of famine. Thus the Pharaoh appointed Joseph as ruler of Egypt, and answers only to Pharaoh himself. What was the name given to Joseph?

22. It came to pass that the famine also hit the land of Canaan, Joseph’s home. One fine day, Joseph was utterly surprised to see his brothers among those waiting for grains. Joseph plotted his revenge and accused his brother as spies. But the brothers told him that they were good men, the sons of Jacob of Canaan, and he was waiting for them with their youngest brother? Who was the youngest brother?

23. Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin. The sons of Jacob became the Twelve Tribes of Isreal. From who among the twelve our Lord Jesus was a descendant of?

24. After the death of Joseph, the Pharoah started building the Pyramids. The Israelites became the slaves constructing the tombs with straw, mud, water, and whips on their shoulder… The slavery burdened the lives of the twelve tribes. They prayed for deliverance. Deliverance though came a long time coming, because it was prophesied that a Messiah will save the. When the Pharoah heard of this, he ordered all babies to be speared and thrown into the river. But a woman in the tribe of Levi hid her child in a crib and let the crib flow into the river. The daughter of the Pharoah found the crib, and because the baby was drawn from the waters, he was named what?

25. Moses believed that he was a prince of Egypt, and his brother was Ramses. In reality, he has a blood brother. What is the name of his brother?

26. Moses also has a sister. What is the name of his sister?

27. When Moses fled Egypt, he found himself in Median and he married the first daughter of the high median priest Jethro. What is the name of his wife?

28. Ramses the Pharoah wouldn’t let the Israelites leave Egypt, so God punished them with 10 plagues. Name one plague.

29. The Israelites wer e in Egypt for 130 years. When the Pharoah allowed them to leave, but later changed his mind. The Egyptian army pursued the Israelites. The Israelites were trapped between a body of water. What is the name of this body of water?

30. Moses and God’s people lived in the dessert. God gave them bread from heaven everyday. What do you call this bread?

31. What mountain did Moses climb to receive the 10 commandments?

32. What is the 4th commandment?

33. What is the 8th commandment?

34. The Israelites were not a patient people. When Moses went up Mount Sinai, they built an idol to worship. What is this idol?

35. God was displeased with his people, and he told them that only those under 20 years of age will be able to enter the promised land. Moses did not enter the promised land, but two of his assistants did. Name one of the two.

36. Under the leadership of Joshua. The Israelites carried a large box made of gold inside out. Inside this large golden box are the tables of the 10 commandments. What do you call this large golden box?

37. From the tribe of Dan came Israel’s strongest liberator. He drew his strength from the long locks of his hair. Who is he?

38. Samson fell in love with whom?

39. What is the name of Ruth’s mother-in-law?

40. What is the name of the son of Ruth and Boaz?

41. There was a woman called Hannah who begged God for a son and promised God that she will make her son serve him the rest of his life. God granted her wish. What is the name of Hannah’s son?

42. Who was the priest to whom Hannah entrusted her son, Samuel?

43. Samuel’s sons were wicked, so God told Samuel to make the strong, good-looking man from the tribe of Benjamin the first king of Israel. Who was this king?

44. Alas, after many victories, Saul, too, became proud and sinned against God. So God told Samuel to anoint a shepherd boy from the sons of Jesse. Jesse was the son of Obed, and Obed was the son of Ruth and Boaz. Who was the shepherd boy who became the mightiest King of Israel?

45. The Israelites’ mortal enemy are the Philistines. The Israelites were so afraid of the Philistines because they had a giant for a warrior. What is the name of this giant?

46. With what weapon did David defeat Goliath?

47. Who is the son of Saul that became David’s best friend?

48. What is the name of David’s very beautiful son, who wanted the throne for himself, and thereby fought his father?

49. David had another son, who requested God to be given wisdom to judge his people. Who is this wise king of Israel?

50. There was a prophet who challenged the 450 prophets of Baal to burn the sacrifice for their God. What is his name?

51. Elijah was the only person in the Old Testament who was carried to heaven by the fiery chariot drawn by splendid horses. Who was with Elijah when this happened?

52. Tobias was a faithful servant of God who became blind, and yet instructed his son to obey all the commandments of God. What was the name of his son?

53. The Assyrian king sent General Holofernes to conquer Canaan. In Bethulia, a widow heard of this command, and she prayed to God to give her the strength to do his will. This woman went to the Assyrian camp, and when Holofernes saw her, he threw a party in her honor. When Holofernes got drunk that night, this woman drew Holofernes’ own sword and cut his head. Who is this very courageous beauty?

54. King Asseuerus of Babylon was married to a Jew, but he did not know that. This Jew is the adapted niece of Mordacai, a good man. The King’s aid Aman was always jealous of Mordacai, and he plotted to kill Mordacai. So he instructed the king to put the Jews to death. Then the queen, a Jew, said that if the King does that, then she will die as well. When the king learned that, he put Aman to death instead. What is the name of the queen?

55. Who said, “the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord?”

56. What was the writing on the wall that Daniel interpreted as you have been weighed and found lacking, and your kingdom will have its end?

57. Who was the king who saved Daniel from the burning furnace?

58. Who was the beautiful woman accused by the elders of adultery that Daniel saved from death?

59. Where did God direct Jonas to go?

Slept like a log.

Sleeping twilight time. because I was in deep slumber the whole afternoon, from twelve high noon till six in the evening. The log sleep was probably due to the recent activities, like coursing EDSA for three hours at 10 kph the other day. Hmmm, fretting while driving was not allowed, especially if all the lanes were occupied, and overtaking was not possible.

The good thing that happened, I did get to see EDSA and the billboards that adorned the long stretch. There was one too many of TGonzaga ads. and my eyes almost got crossed looking, and I did hope the admakers could choose some fresher face, like the UAAP photogenics, to grace their products. Just an opine, please.

What I really would like to narrate is that I did get to meet ordinary but very interesting people. One is a mother who lost her son, but in grief and disbelief, she stands brave and faithful to our God. Another is a schoolmate, and she appears pretty but I know she desperately needs help.

When I was listening to their stories, I was asking myself if I signed up for the grief and the disillusion, for these things could be disconcerting, But I held on, telling myself that each story and each person is an assignment from God.

If only Christianity is as easy as coursing EDSA @ 10 kph and enduring Toni, but I did sign up for the cross, and so I must bear all things. Please God, don’t allow the strength to drain.

And now I must sleep.

Calling Complacent Catholics

Heard 7pm Mass at St. Paul last night, Fr. Eymart delivered a very powerful homily, addressed the complacent Catholics, said statistics show that for every eleven Catholics, one departs the Catholic Church, for such reasons as: the priest does not deliver a good homily; second collections are money making for the church. and the like. How flimsy, or how lame. Truth is, Catholics who say such things are those who seek attention for themselves, those who are afflicted with crab mentality, because they are the ones who are not happy watching many other Catholics live Christianity as the Master commanded them so. So, they find reasons to create talk, to put down their fellow Catholics, and in the end, they leave, and live by one protestant rule: attack the Catholic Church. Catholics had been complacent long enough, and that includes those who are Catholics on Sundays only. There is much more to being a Catholic than attending the Mass an hour in a week. Catholicism calls for universal service. And what is alarming, while Christians are busy destroying Christians, abominations in every facet of the human being are inculturated in the Christian. Now the Christian believes divorce is right, abortion is right, or same sex marriage is right. No, these things are never right. This is of great concern. What is more scary is: there are more believers of Islam now, and gradually, they are asserting their sovereignty over society. Just go to your nearest malls, you will find them there. Come on, come on, Catholics, wake up, our job is not done, the mission is not over, come on, wake up and help. Carry your Cross.

Relating to the news today.

Whatsoever you do to the least of My brothers…  email this discussion to a friend?

myLot reputation of 92/100. eileenleyva (3132)   ranked 1 out of 69 in catholic 36 minutes ago
The laborers did not return the water container I lent them the previous day, so when they asked for more water, I was peeved, and almost denied them the thirst quencher. I saw how belabored each one of them was, lifting those stones and shoveling the earth, and I reminded myself the Lord’s welcoming words “When I was thirsty, you gave me to drink, now enter into the home of My Father.” The workers consumed all of my purified water, that I have to go out and buy a gallon, but that’s all right, for “whatsoever you do to the least of My brothers, that, you do unto Me.

“Here’s a timely story of one who did not hesitate:…

Thirty Pieces of Silver – the Price of a Slave.  email this discussion to a friend?

myLot reputation of 92/100. eileenleyva (3132)   ranked 1 out of 69 in catholic 24 minutes ago
We all know the selfish Judas Iscariot betrayed our Lord Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, and that is the price of a slave that time, two thousand years ago.

It’s all about money, and this present age, never before had people been so engrossed about money, our lives are ran by money, and everyone in the rat race desire money, and we are all ears when the news about who’s who in the Forbes’ list of richest men. For money, one would sell his soul to Mephistopheles!

Fortunately, for us mortals, there are souls who are not tempted by money, and these souls could very well be the reason why our God has not punished us entirely for our avarice.

If so many are wanting money to pop right at his face, here’s a story of one who literally found CASH in front of her but did not claim it for it was not hers. Finder’s keepers? Nope, not ours to own.…

My Maundy Thursday

It is Maundy Thursday today, we will spend the day in solitude, reading, of course, stories from the Holy Book.

I hope the waterworks will not resume work today, not that the laborers are noisy, for my backdoor neighbors are outrageously horrible, their magic sync is a-blast, in full volume, and not one of the shameless singers can carry a tune. I am mortified, but did let it be, and watched instead the labor-hardened youth workers lift cement stones, one after the other, and toss the heavy load in the trucks. They asked for two liters of water every hour, for it is so hot, and the labor is burdensome, and I thought how ironic, for the waterworks cannot even provide water for their contract workers.

Sigh, I just don’t want any loud activity today.

It would be pacifying really if my neighbors refrain from karaoke singing. I am tempted to toss them a copy of the PABASA actually. That way, I wouldn’t have to read, ha ha. Sigh, like I always say, the second commandment is difficult to obey!

Musings on Palm Sunday

The Longest Gospel on Palm Sunday.  email this discussion to a friend?

myLot reputation of 92/100. eileenleyva (3130)   ranked 1 out of 67 in catholic 2 days ago
Today is Palm Sunday, or Domingo de Ramos, and we troop to Church carrying, waving our fascinating, ribbon-adorned branches.Years ago, a young barrio lass made the most intricate weave of coconut palms for me and my sister. We were proudest waving our most enviable palms, and sigh, really wish I still could have the best branches to wave to our Lord.My daughter bought bamboo art branches for today, and am excited to wave my cutest, littlest branches. I will boast my palms, ha ha.

Not to forget the most important part, today commences the week-long passion we have to observe for the impending suffering of our Lord. The Gospel narrates the sacrifice our Lord gave for us. Let us try to heal ourselves, meditate, join recollection and retreats, confess our sins, and carry our cross. Let’s go and live the Gospel.

Summer Rain on a Palm Sunday  email this discussion to a friend?

myLot reputation of 92/100. eileenleyva (3130)   ranked 1 out of 67 in catholic 22 hours ago
Every time, Palm Sunday is a joyous occasion, not only are the children wide-eyed, delighted over the colorful ribbons and intricate weave of coconut palms, but the adults as well, mindful of what is the best looking palms they could get at a reasonable price.The side pavements, and to some extent, the roads, too, leading to the church grounds, are adorned with happy palms vendors, the kind ones offer smiles, too, that Palm Sunday is always festive, belying the sadness that Catholics would have to go through the week ahead.My daughters and I were grateful for the little summer rain that refreshed the air. After Mass, some old schoolmates called my girls and they had a half an hour chat, updating on what’s up with whom and so on… The girls have come a long way from their formal school years, and they realized that on a Palm Sunday morning, after we were surprised by the summer rain.happy