December 26, 2012 in Featured
By REV. LUNA DINGAYAN
“For it is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived. She will have a son,
and you will name him Jesus – because he will save his people from their sins.”
Matthew 1: 20b-21
Doomsday that never came
It was supposed to be the end of the world already when I was writing these reflections. According to the Mayan Calendar, December 21, 2012 was supposed to be the day when the world would come to an end. But like other predictions in the past, it did not happen as expected.
Perhaps, it is high time for us to change our understanding of the “end of the world.” We have to bear in mind that if and when the apocalyptic writings in the Scriptures talk about “end of the world”, they are not referring literally to the physical world that God created. It is human beings, not God, who are destroying the world that God created. Rather the apocalyptic writers are actually referring to the world of the Empire that human beings created; a world of oppression, injustice and other forms of evil. This is the kind of world that the apocalyptic writers were expecting to come to an end, and hoping to be replaced by a new world that God would create wherein God’s love and justice reign supreme.
If we would like really to put an end to this world we live in, which is full of corruption and injustice, then we have to really pray for peace and work for justice. And by God’s grace and power, a new heaven and a new earth, a new world will come to us.
The RH Bill
Now, one of the most controversial and divisive bills filed in congress is the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill. This kind of bill is not actually new to us; it had come to us time and again in the past in various ways and forms. And the Roman Catholic Church leadership had always been opposing it. But the debate on this latest RH Bill is perhaps the worst, because some church leaders even resort to threatening and name calling. Some of them even interpret the latest Typhoon Pablo as God’s punishment for passing the RH Bill in the Second Reading.
Well, we don’t believe that our God who is just, compassionate, and loving had caused the many casualties of Pablo simply because of the passage of the RH Bill. It simply doesn’t make sense at all. According to the investigations of the DENR, the many casualties were actually caused by the massive logging and mining in the affected areas.
Actually, the real issue in the RH Bill is not so much the contraceptives, abortion, promiscuity, immorality, or what have you that the Roman Catholic Church leaders are insisting about. Rather, the real issue is family planning or planned parenthood. The question is: are we going to plan our family or our parenthood so that we give birth only to children that we can afford to take care of, to feed and to educate to become mature Christians and productive citizens of our country? Are we not happy and grateful if the government through its laws and services would provide guidance and support for parents, especially mothers in fulfilling their responsibilities of giving birth to children?
Now, this brings us to the story of Jesus’ birth. According to Matthew’s account Jesus was named Jesus, “because he will save his people from their sins.” That is the meaning of Jesus’ name. Jesus or Joshua means “savior” or “God saves.” Traditionally, Israelites name their children not with any name, but only by a name that bears or characterizes the meaning or purpose of the life of a child being named. Jesus was named Jesus because he is going to be the savior of his people.
Sometimes, the name of a person may be changed if the purpose of his life is changed. For instance, the name of Simon was changed to Peter, indicating the important role Peter had to play in the formation of the Christian church.
Jesus’ birth was well planned. And the plan of his life was revealed to his parents through a dream. Parents today should also dream dreams and have visions for their children. The primary task of parents is not simply to give birth to children, but to see to it that their children would not become street children later on, but rather they would grow to become Christians in the real sense of the word and contribute not to the problems, but to the solution of the problems of society.
Merry Christmas and a blessed new year!#www.nordis.net