"It is surely harmful to souls to make it a heresy to believe what is proved" - Galileo
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New Year's Day: Why the Male member is Holy!
The old Roman Church calendar had January 1 as the Feast of the Circumcision ("tuli" in Filipino) of Christ. Why there is a circumcision is told in Genesis 17 as a reminder of YHWH's covenant with Abraham. Verse 12 has it as
"And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every male throughout your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any foreigner, that is not of thy seed."
In the covenant, Abraham was promised that he will have many descendants by his wife Sarah. Abraham's son with Sarah' Isaac was circumcised 8 days after he was born, his eldest son with Sarahs servant Hagar, Ishmael, at 13 years and Abraham himself at 90 years.
Christian Tradition holds that the real start of Jesus's shedding of blood for our salvation started on his circumcision. This was also the time when Jesus was named as Jesus. Another name of the feast is "The Naming of Jesus"
The new Roman Calendar promulgated by Paul VI has January 1 as a Marian feast, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. This is a Holy Day of obligation in some countries most notably the USA and Canada.
While renaming the feast in honour of Mary is laudable as it focuses on her motherhood as Theotokos (all other Marian feasts like the Assumption and Immaculate Conception follow from this), it misses out on one thing. Jesus, even as a baby, was already in the business of atoning for us. The circumcision links Jesus with Abraham and his covenants with the Lord.
The Anglican Book of Common Prayer (1928) has for the collect of the feast as
"Almighty God, who madest they Blessed Son to be circumcised, and obedient to the law for man; Grant us the true circumcision of the Spirit; that our hearts, and all our members, being mortified from all worldly and carnal lusts. we in all things obey thy blessed will; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen"
The Epistle in the old Roman Missal for the day had Titus 2: 11-15 which challenges Mass goers to 'reject ungodliness and worldly lusts". This fits in so perfectly with the Anglican BCP's collect!
The Anglican Epistle is Philippians 2: 9, the Carmen Christi which exalts the Holy Name of Jesus.
"That at the Name of Jesus, which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.......of things in heaven, and things in earth and things under the earth... that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father."
The old feast reminds Christians that all are holy, our bodies, other people, the soul, life, and the environment, and these were redeemed by Christ's shedding of blood. Since almost all Filipino men are circumcised, every time they take it out for nature's call, they must be reminded that theirs too is circumcised. So what they have in their hands too is holy and it should not be used for what Epistles and Collects for the feast day warn men against!
And all should should kneel at the Name of Jesus to the Glory of the Father in Heaven!
Being a denizen of Kyusi, in honour of the man who gave my city its name and for being the most colourful prez the Philippines ever had, I have the pleasure to post Manuel L Quezon's Code of Ethics on his birthday. Let us profit from the wisdom of the Kastila.
1. Have Faith in the Divine Providence that guides the destinies of men and nations.
2. Love your country for it is the home of your people, the seat of your affection and the source of your happiness and well-being. It's defense is your primary duty. Be ready to sacrifice and die for it if necessary.
3. Respect the Constitution which is the expression of your sovereign will. The government is your government. It has been established for your safety and welfare. Obey the laws and see that they are observed by all and that public officials comply with their duties.
4. Pay your taxes willingly and promptly. Citizenship implies not only rights but obligations.
5. Safeguard the purity of suffrage and abide by the decisions of the…
"So often have we been haunted by the spectre of subversion which, with some fostering, has come to be a positive and real being, whose very name steals our serenity and makes us commit the greatest blunders... If before the reality, instead of changing the fear of one is increased, and the confusion of the other is exacerbated, then they must be left in the hands of time..."
Dr Jose Rizal "To the Filipino People and their Government"
Jose Rizal dominates the Luneta, which is sacred to the Philippine nation as a place of martyrdom. And many perhaps all of those executed in the Luneta, with the exception of the three Filipino secular priests martyred in 1872, have read Rizal's El Filibusterismo. Dr Rizal's second novel is a darker and more sinister one that its prequel but has much significance across the century and more after it was published for it preaches the need for revolution with caveats, which are when the time is right and who will instigate it.
The hottest summer courtesy of El Nino in at least 10 years gave runners and walkers in the University of the Philippines Diliman campus a visual treat. This year the flame trees Delonix regia are in full bloom! In past summers it wasn't as hot and dry so the trees did not shed their leaves and few blooms were produced. It is the tropical version of the Japanese Hanami or the Cherry blossom viewing season. While Hanami tells us the fragile impermanence of beauty, the flame tree hanami tells us that summer burns but soon it will all be over.