Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI Christmas Midnight Mass homily


Saint Peter's Basilica
Sunday, 24 December 2006

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We have just heard in the Gospel the message given by the angels to the shepherds during that Holy Night, a message which the Church now proclaims to us: "To you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger" (Lk 2:11-12). Nothing miraculous, nothing extraordinary, nothing magnificent is given to the shepherds as a sign. All they will see is a child wrapped in swaddling clothes, one who, like all children, needs a mother’s care; a child born in a stable, who therefore lies not in a cradle but in a manger. God ’s sign is the baby in need of help and in poverty. Only in their hearts will the shepherds be able to see that this baby fulfils the promise of the prophet Isaiah, which we heard in the first reading: "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder" (Is 9:5). Exactly the same sign has been given to us. We too are invited by the angel of God, through the message of the Gospel, to set out in our hearts to see the child lying in the manger.

God’s sign is simplicity. God’s sign is the baby. God’s sign is that he makes himself small for us. This is how he reigns. He does not come with power and outward splendour. He comes as a baby – defenceless and in need of our help. He does not want to overwhelm us with his strength. He takes away our fear of his greatness. He asks for our love: so he makes himself a child. He wants nothing other from us than our love, through which we spontaneously learn to enter into his feelings, his thoughts and his will – we learn to live with him and to practise with him that humility of renunciation that belongs to the very essence of love. God made himself small so that we could understand him, welcome him, and love him. The Fathers of the Church, in their Greek translation of the Old Testament, found a passage from the prophet Isaiah that Paul also quotes in order to show how God’s new ways had already been foretold in the Old Testament. There we read: "God made his Word short, he abbreviated it" (Is 10:23; Rom 9:28). The Fathers interpreted this in two ways. The Son himself is the Word, the Logos; the eternal Word became small – small enough to fit into a manger. He became a child, so that the Word could be grasped by us. In this way God teaches us to love the little ones. In this way he teaches us to love the weak. In this way he teaches us respect for children. The child of Bethlehem directs our gaze towards all children who suffer and are abused in the world, the born and the unborn. Towards children who are placed as soldiers in a violent world; towards children who have to beg; towards children who suffer deprivation and hunger; towards children who are unloved. In all of these it is the Child of Bethlehem who is crying out to us; it is the God who has become small who appeals to us. Let us pray this night that the brightness of God’s love may enfold all these children. Let us ask God to help us do our part so that the dignity of children may be respected. May they all experience the light of l ove, which mankind needs so much more than the material necessities of life.

for the rest of the homily, here's the link: Official Vatican post

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Azzurri captain Fabio Cannavaro was chosen FIFA World Player of the Year (together with Brazil's Marta). At least it is not Zizou. At least it is not Zizou. At least it is not Zizou. Ok, so he still got his Golden Ball. Brazil and Spain jointly won the Fair Play award (was there any doubt?), and Klose got his Golden Shoe awarded to him also. (pic from FIFA)

Monday, December 18, 2006

I first met Lando in 1989 when I transferred to Cebu because of work. I took a job as a research assistant for the Cebu office of the Center for Research and Communication. Lando was more than 6 months ahead of me in the office. He finished high school that year in Our Lady Academy in Ronda, and CRC took him in as messenger/utility person. Since I was new in Cebu, he taught me the jeepney routes, never mind if I had a street map with the jeepney routes, among other things. Nothing beats experience. Lando loved to sing, and Saturday afternoons, while he cleaned the office, he would sing-along karaoke-style.

The following year, I joined CITE, but I still had some contact with him. After a couple of years, he left for Davao, to work for an NGO there in a PCSO-funded project. The NGO ran the Apo Study Center, an apostolic undertaking of Opus Dei. Lando served as caretaker of the center (up to the day he died!).

When the project ended, he was set to come back to Cebu, but Boyet asked him to stay on and work for him. In that way, he can still serve as caretaker of the center, which we could only manage to use for a few days every fortnight (trips from Cebu had to be made as the work in Davao was not stable enough to spend more days).

In 1998, I started coming over to Davao to help in the activities of the center. Lando was a big help. When Boyet and Elaine gave the center a microwave oven, I started to experiment on cooking. Lando would join me for lunch, whenever he could. Whenever he had the time (as he was still working for Boyet), and not whenever he could stand my cooking. Lando would cook too so we usually had a shared experience -- his fish sinigang was exceptional. He had married by then, blessed with three children.

In 2002, we were celebrating the centenary of the birth of Opus Dei founder Josemaria Escriva. We put up an exhibit in March at the Gaisano Mall. Lando gave a testimony of how Opus Dei helped him spiritually and personally during the opening of that exhibit (the picture in this blog was taken during his testimony). He told me that was his first speech ever, but it meant a lot to him.

I last saw him in September 2004 in Davao, but communication lines were always open, SMS and phone calls.

Some months back, he was diagnosed with leukemia. His doctor said it was an easy case and he should proceed with chemotherapy. With that and a lot of prayers, Lando came through with the chemo. Except for some infection that was cured with antibiotics, the prognosis was very good. Another bone marrow test showed very few cancer cells left, as expected.

He went through a second batch of chemo sessions in the first week of December. On the afternoon of December 4, he even phoned me and we spoke for almost 6 minutes. He was his usual self, although he had just finished his chemo for that day. I told him I was probably going to Davao in April next year and that I definitely will see him by then (I would have gone in September this year, but plans fell through). I was wrong. I won't see him in April.

At past 8pm on December 15, I received a message from his brother Rey who works with us in CITE, that Lando had passed away. He had some bleeding earlier, nothing extraordinary really as it was expected, but apparently, the hospital made some blunders when he was brought to hospital. If the hospital wronged him, I am sure Lando forgave them. Who would want to be delayed going to Heaven?

A good man Lando was. But very young to be recalled by God. But such is God's ways.

I could hear our Lord telling him that Friday: Lan, clima na*. Claim the seat reserved for you in Heaven.

*As I am not Bisdak, I did not understand Lando at first as he told me during my first day in CRC, when I asked him to buy rice as I usually brought viand from home and took my lunch in the office: Sir Pet, clima na imong rice.

Justine and the UN

Justine Henin-Hardenne was named UNESCO Champion for Sport, for her untiring campaign against drug use in sports, among other things. Here's zeenews.

And. More on Lindsay's choice of motherhood on zeenews.

Stats again

Many MSM outlets, reporting on the number of deaths of American soldiers, would put the figure at close to 3,000. Wow, that's a lot.
But US casualties have actually been dropping (DoD data): 848 (2004), 846 (2005), and 768 (2006). Note of course that there are still about 2 weeks left in 2006, and this would mean 78 deaths more to equal 2005 figures (God forbid that there will be no more deaths).

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Life after tennis -- divine

When I was in highschool, and still playing lots of tennis, one of the women (teen) tennis players I followed was Andrea Jaeger, she with the long ponytails and braces on her teeth. She did reach No2 beating at some point the likes of Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, yet she never won a Slam. When I thought she'd get to No1, she had to retire at 19, with a shoulder injury (that needed many operations). Gone too soon. She didn't have the "airs" of the teen stars of recent years though, and that made her likeable. Although probably she was just enjoying her youth. She put up a foundation later to help children with cancer. In September 16 of this year, at age 41, she took her vows as a Dominican nun, and she is now called simply Sr. Andrea. Not all tennis. She has an interview with Sports Illustrated, first time a nun gets interviewed by SI. Here's that interview.

Another women's player I've kept tabs is Lindsay Davenport. She wanted to retire last season but found herself winning matches towards the end of the previous season. Now she will probably retire to start something new in her life. Rather, she's about started. Lindsay says that she is pregnant with her and husband Jon Leach's first child, due early next summer. SI says a little about this here.

Way to go ladies, uhmm, lady and sister.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

8th POY

Tiger Woods wins the 2006 PGA Tour Player of the Year Award, also known as, what else, the Jack Nicklaus Trophy. This is the 8th for Tiger, the only player to have won it more than twice.

This year, Tiger also won the Arnold Palmer Award for leading the money list and the Byron Nelson Award for the lowest scoring average.

Oh, Justine Henin-Hardenne was named the 2006 International Tennis Federation world champion together with, d r u m r o l l,
Roger Federer.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Finger Wag

Who has the better wag?

The stats again

The AP and BBC stories on a recent poll in Afghanistan are similar -- negative. Because the negative reads better?

The poll finds that 90% of the Afghans call the invasion to overthrow the Taliban as a good thing for their country, and the same percentage prefer their present government . In my book, when 90% of a nation call anything in their country as something good, that is NEWS. Can the Philippines or the US even attain such percentage for anything?

Another thing, the poll says 75% have a favorable opinion of the US. When 75% of a Muslim nation see the US as favorable, THAT is NEWS. Do you think the Pinoys or the Americans like the US that much?

But AP and BBC think otherwise. It is not negative at all. So find the negative.

In the end, it's the stats again. Spin.

Monday, December 11, 2006


In the Fox News story, Lawyer, Wife Accused of Duping British Prince Out of $23 Million, it said "One of Britain’s highest earning barristers and his wife have been accused of swindling millions of dollars from the Sultan of Brunei’s brother. Thomas Derbyshire and Faith Zaman are said to have plundered Prince Jefri’s fortune to buy themselves two California beach homes, $30,000 worth of jewellery in a day, $33,000 of furniture and $2,800 of electronic appliances. Derbyshire, aged in his 40s, is an expert specialising in the fields of fraud and money laundering."

I highlighted jewellery thinking "Oh what a great mistake!" But before writing to Fox, I consulted Merriam-Webster online and saw this entry:


One entry found for jewellery.

Main Entry: jew·el·lery
chiefly British variant of JEWELRY

Well, what do you know?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Teacher, teacher, beware!

Good thing am not in a country controlled by the Taliban -- although at times, I feel like am in it, getting hit from all sides by those who think everyone agrees with what they think and/or do..

Here's a portion of a CNN report:

Until you get to rules 24 and 25, which make it clear that the Taliban's current campaign of destroying schools around Afghanistan and terrorizing teachers will continue as long as schools dare teach something other than the Taliban version of Islam.

"It is forbidden to work as a teacher under the current puppet regime, because this strengthens the system of the infidels," says rule 24. And if a teacher refuses a warning to give up his job, reads rule 25, "he must be beaten."

"If the teacher still continues to instruct contrary to the principles of Islam, the district commander or a group leader must kill him," it continues.

When schools are burned, the Taliban rules say it is important that religious texts be removed from the buildings first.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Jürgen Klinsmann

Former Germany national coach Jürgen Klinsmann is frontrunner for the coaching job at Team USA.

Hmm . . .

As the rumours fly, ever since he stepped down as Germany's coach after World Cup 2006.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Where are they headed?

Found here.

Caught cheatin' ... on ethics test



Columbia University officials are
lowering the boom on some graduate journalism students suspected of
cheating on, of all things, an ethics exam.

The J-schoolers' alleged lapse on the final was reported yesterday by Radar Online.


Are these people going to MSM? Or are they just following the footsteps of some who are in MSM?

powered by performancing firefox