Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Hearing Mass 101

"Who was the first man who received the holy communion and then left the gathering?", our parish priest blurted out right before the choir sang the song they prepared for Offering that Sunday evening.


Everybody was caught by surprise. I was. For a second or two I thought he is pin pointing somebody in the crowd and I was kind of expecting someone to raise his shaky hand. After a momentary confusion it became apparent that he is trying to make point.


That question swirled my mind the for the next 20 minutes or so.


Before the communion rites he said, "The first man who received the holy communion and left the gathering was JUDAS."


As a background, our priest has always been very vocal on how he hates a plethora of people would leave the church right after receiving the holy communion. That is of course is wrong, very very wrong.


I studied in a catholic school ran by the sisters of saint Paul along R. Hidalgo street in Quiapo right in the heart of Manila. We have a nun for our Religion class or Social Ethics as we call it back then. For some reason, I love the subject it is one of my favourites. On why, that is an entirely different story which I hope I could write about someday.


Anyway, from that class I have learnt how to properly hear a mass and I have shared it with my kids a few times. It's a shame that most Catholics doesn't know about it probably because nobody ever told them how. So now, I'm gonna enumerate and share what I have learned.


Here goes. You didn't hear mass if you:


  1. Failed to arrive before the first words of the Holy Gospel has been pronounced.
  2. Didn't participate in the singing.
  3. Didn't participate in the prayers, obviously.
  4. Didn't offer anything except if you are really really tight on budget.
  5. Failed to receive the FINAL BLESSING.


The last one is what our priest is trying to convey. Your whole 1 hour or so of going to church, participating in the responsorial psalm, singing even though you sounded like a cat and your tail has just been stepped on, prayed so hard that sweat comes out of your forehead in an air-conditioned church and even pulled out a fat fifty dollar bill for your offering. All that will go to waste if you failed to hear the Final Blessing.


The mass isn't over when you receive the holy host dear brothers and sisters. You have to be there when the final blessing is given out.


And by the way, Masses are not like TV Shows or Movies, if you arrive late and failed to hear the Holy Gospel, you need to hear the entirety of the next scheduled mass.


I hope this could reach out to a number of Catholics out there. So that the next time you hear a similar question like what our priest asked us, you won't feel like a silver-hungry-traitor like the infamous Mr. Iscariot.


Be blessed everyone! :o)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pinoy ka ba?

By: Erwin L. Sison

Taglish ang gagamitin kong medium of writing dahil di ko gusto maintindihan ng ibang lahi ang mga sasabihin ko.

Having spent more than eight years sa labas ng Pinas, naging saksi ako on how our culture is applied sa social integration ng ibang bansa. Singapore is a multi-cultural country, madaming lahi ang nakatira dito actually too many considering kung gaano kaliit ito.

Isa sa mga lahing nandito ay ang mga Pilipino. We have our fair share of the population here. May mga maids, healthcare workers, engineers, IT professionals at iba pang engaged sa iba't ibang line of work. Our presence is definitely undeniable. 

Anyway, I am writing this just to make a point on how we were brought up and kung papano ito nakaka-apekto sa pakikisalamuha natin sa ibang nationality.

Disclaimer agad: This is my personal opinion, it might rub you the wrong way pero it might also inspire you.

Majority of pinoys are Catholic, that is a fact. So from childhood we were taught to be humble and give the other cheek. Tahimik lang tayo. We believe na our work or our attitude will speak for us. Naniniwala tayo na action speaks louder than words.

Pasensyoso tayo, as much as possible ayaw natin ng confrontation. We'd rather suffer quietly than make a big fuss out of something na we think we can still bear. Most of the time sinasabi natin "Dyos na bahala" o "ipagpapa sa Dyos ko na lang yan". We prefer to be in the background kaysa maging parang KSP.

Negative ang pagiging ambisyoso, we despise them. Kapag na labelan ka na ambisyoso o ambisyosa parang may social stigma ka na.

I'm telling you right now, all of the above are CRAP! Stop reading if I came down too hard and please start hating me now. If you wanna know my reason please proceed.

I'm not saying na ayaw ko ang way ng pagpapalaki sakin ng magulang ko, they are the best gift anyone could ever have and I love them and will continue to do so until I take my last breath.

I'm not saying na hate ko ang pagiging pinoy ko because I am truly proud of my roots, my race at mahal ko ang bansa ko. In fact my love for my country ang isa sa mga dahilan bakit ko sinusulat ito.

Having said that, gusto ko i-highlight na may mali sa ating kultura.

Hindi tama para sa akin na mag-suffer quietly dahil lang ayaw nating ng confrontation. Hindi tama na magsawalang kibo kahit nahihirapan dahil lang ayaw natin maka istorbo ng ibang tao. Hindi tama na manahimik lalo na kapag inaapakan ka na.

Tama ang maging ambisyoso o ambisyosa tama ang magkaron ng pangarap o ambition tama na may aim ka sa buhay. At higit sa lahat ayaw na ayaw ko na palagi na lang ipinagpapa sa dyos ang lahat! I hate that so much!

Binigyan ka ng kamay at paa, kumilos ka! Binigyan ka ng bibig magsalita ka! Express your feelings, do what you need to do but never deprive yourself of something that you think you deserve. Lumaban ka! Huwag kang kikimi-kimi.

Dito sa Singapore madaming lahi,  napapansin ko most of the time nagta-take advantage sila sa pagiging pinoy natin kasi alam nila na bihira sa atin ang nagsasalita o lumalaban o nag-iinitiate ng confrontation. Hindi ko gusto yun and hindi ako ganun.

My fellow pinoys na kilala ako ay alam nila na I won't take crap from anybody specially sa ibang lahi. I am not afraid to stir things up to defend myself, my belief and my pride. They know na I won't shun away from confrontation and won't hesitate na i-declare ang unhappiness ko kapag feel ko I am being treated unfairly.

In short, I am not a push-over. At ito ang tinuturo ko sa mga anak ko, I just hope na ma-adopt nila ito.

Bakit ba naging masyado tayong pasensyoso? Bakit ba ang pinoy tahimik lang most of the time? Duwag ba tayo? Papano ba tayo naging ganito as a country, as a race?

To answer this we need to take a look at our history.

For approximately 300 years nasa ilalim tayo ng spanish occupation sila ang nag-gogovern ng bansa at ng buhay natin. 300 years, isipin mo, ang tagal nun. Papano nila nagawa yun? Nagyari yun dahil bukod sa espada, gumamit din sila ng religion, Catholicism.

Naging way ito para mahawakan tayo for as long as they want. Itinuro nila sa atin na masama ang maging ambisyoso, ipagpa-sa dyos ang lahat at huwag masyado mataas ang pangarap. Mahirap syempre i-supress ang isang bansa na marunong mag ambisyon o maging palaban.

So nagkarooon ng  negative conotation ang pagiging aggresive at pagiging assertive.

After ng Spaniards the Americans came and they did almost the same thing. In fact they played a major part in choosing our martyr national hero who doesn't even want to go to war in the first place instead of an aggressive, change-seeking, freedom fighter.

Even folklores such as "Biag ni Lam-Ang" were banned during those times so not to inspire Filipinos to seek for freedom. Bilang oppressor ayaw mo ito, and that is what they did.

To sum things up, dahil sa history natin na palagi na lang tayong may tormentor we were taught and trained to be happy with what we have and as much as possible huwag mangarap.

Times have changed at hindi na natin dapat ine-embrace ang ganung thinking, if we want to progress as a nation as a race we have to be assertive and most of all act towards the direction of what we want to achieve.

Hindi na pwede yung bow na lang ng bow. Matagal na umalis mga hapon sa bansa natin. This is the time to assert ourselves kaya tayo binu-bully ng China e.

50 or 60 years ago mas maunlad tayo sa mga katabi nating bansa. Today, maunlad na sila tayo parang lalo pang umatras. Yes, one of the reason is our corrupt government pero look at the mirror, malaking factor dito ang ating acquired (and taught) inferiority complex.

Parents should start changing the way na palakihin ang mga anak natin, dapat tutuan silang maging competitive and to reach for their dreams with all they got. No boundaries, no limits.

Hindi na applicable na antayin mo ang grasya na lapitan ka, have we not learned anything from Juan Tamad? We need to go for it, paminsan-minsan kailangan mo iangat ang sarili mong bangko. Who knows, 3 centuries hence we'll be one of the super powers of the world. Hindi impossible considering our natural born talent to excel.

Change is in order. Change is what we need. The time is now. Let us start with the man in the mirror.