Featured Post


Saturday, October 19, 2019

Robredo is running scared


“IF upon examination of such ballots and proof, and after making reasonable allowances, the tribunal is convinced that, taking all circumstances into account, the protestant or counter-protestant, will most probably fail to make out his case, the protest may forthwith be dismissed.”

This is what Rule 65 used by the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) says. And it is clear that the tribunal “may” dismiss a protest, implying that it can decide otherwise. In law, there is an ocean of difference between “may” and “shall.” The latter is used for a mandatory directive, while the former applies when an action is merely an option.

It is simply odd that people who should know their law, including Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, appear to imply that the Supreme Court, sitting as the PET, has no other option but to dismiss the case and uphold Rule 65.

In fact, the PET decided not to dismiss outright the protest filed against Robredo by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. Eleven of the 14 justices voted to release the results of the recount for the pilot provinces to protestant Marcos and protestee Robredo and required them to submit their comments. In addition, Marcos and Robredo were also required to submit their memorandums on “the various issues relating to the jurisdiction and other matters relating to the third cause of action, which is the annulment of election results for vice president in the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao.” Only two, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justice Benjamin Caguioa, dissented and voted to have the Marcos protest dismissed. Associate Justice Jose Reyes did not participate in the voting.

Supporters of Robredo, including the obviously biased people masquerading as journalists in various media platforms, try their best to highlight the dissent of Justices Carpio and Caguioa, even edifying them as the defenders of democracy. They seem to forget that the Supreme Court sitting as the PET is a collegial body, and the collective wisdom of the majority, which in this case is an overwhelming one of 11 justices, prevails. What is being thrown around is the allegation that Marcos failed to show the ability to substantially recover and wipe out Robredo’s margin, and the claim that she even widened her lead by 15,000 votes.

Robredo demands that the PET uphold Rule 65. In fact, it just did.

She should read carefully Rule 65. The phrase “substantial recovery” is never used. What is instead cited is the probability of a failure to make out a case. And while the examination of ballots and proofs, and after making reasonable allowances, is the basis for the PET to make a decision, it is not limited to this. The PET is also allowed to take all other circumstances into account. This is precisely why it is significant that the PET decided to move into Marcos’ third cause of action, where he sought to annul the elections in Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao. Certainly, the allegations of massive fraud uncovered in the Tan vs. Hataman case, where signatures of people who voted did not match those who are registered were confirmed, would qualify as a significant circumstance.

It should be said that the conduct of elections is a fundamental pillar of our democracy, and it is anathema to this principle that election protests should be decided simply on the basis of a technicality.

If indeed Robredo is so confident that she won fairly, and that her votes would even increase as allegedly has happened in the pilot areas, and that her huge margin in Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao is unassailable simply because people voted for her as a reward for being the only candidate who went there, she should not have any problem. After all, Marcos is the one funding the protest. It also appears that time is on her side. If it took three years to finish the recount in the three pilot areas, there is a strong possibility that the entire process would not be finished by 2022, which is the end of her term. It is therefore odd that Robredo appears to be running scared. And she is so obviously affected that she has become quite aggressive, impugning directly the character of her opponent by implying that Marcos is a thief and a faker not only of a diploma but also of news.

Robredo is obviously scared.

After all, while Marcos’ claim to the vice president post may be timed-out in 2022, Robredo will nevertheless face the risk that the results not only of the recount but also of an inquiry into the allegations of fraud in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) would be detrimental to her legacy and her place in history. There is a risk that her 15,000-increase in the margin in the recount in the pilot areas may in fact be due to the decision to reduce the minimum-shading threshold from 50 percent to 25 percent. If that happens, then it is obvious that she benefited from that decision which was not publicized, and was only disclosed after Marcos filed his protest.

Robredo crows that everything she has achieved is due to her hard and honest work. She confidently declares that she has not stolen anything. This is what she wants us to believe. These lofty words will most likely crumble if it is proven later that her votes in ARMM were indeed manufactured by pre-shaders who worked like thieves in the night, and by a cabal of phantom voters affixing their signatures on names in lieu of the real people who are registered under those names.

This is what scares Robredo.

Because frankly, for someone who is so confident of not being a robber of votes, she and her lawyers and followers are the ones insisting that the case be dismissed on a mere technicality.


Friday, October 18, 2019

Luke 10: 1-9 | Pieter Breughel the Elder | The harvest is rich but the labourers are few

Luke 10: 1-9 The harvest is rich but the labourers are few
The Harvesters, 
Painting by Pieter Breughel the Elder (1525-1569), 
Oil on wood panel,
Painted in 1565,
© Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them out ahead of him, in pairs, to all the towns and places he himself was to visit. He said to them, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest. Start off now, but remember, I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Carry no purse, no haversack, no sandals. Salute no one on the road. Whatever house you go into, let your first words be, “Peace to this house!” And if a man of peace lives there, your peace will go and rest on him; if not, it will come back to you. Stay in the same house, taking what food and drink they have to offer, for the labourer deserves his wages; do not move from house to house. Whenever you go into a town where they make you welcome, eat what is set before you. Cure those in it who are sick, and say, “The kingdom of God is very near to you.”’
 Reflection on the Painting
In today’s reading we hear about Jesus sending His followers on a mission, so they can spread His word, throughout all the lands and throughout the centuries, even today. He sent out His followers in pairs, so that together they would achieve more than just on their own. So we are all little ambassadors helping to spread His Word. But when people meet us, do they think of us that we share the Good News? The privatisation of our faith in recent years, where most of us as Christians have become rather shy about sharing our faith, and rather live and worship in private, is not what we are supposed to do in our apostolic mission that Jesus calls us to in today’s reading. But let’s focus briefly on that sentence ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few’, in St Luke’s Gospel of today.

To me this image of the harvest suggests an ‘urgency’ regarding our apostolic mission that most of us Christians no longer feel. For a farmer, the harvest-time is the most urgent season of the year, where the crops are fully grown and there is only a short window to harvest them in. Whilst we can get small things wrong regarding many different aspects of our lives, a lot of those small mistakes won’t have big consequences. However, when talking about the harvest (our faith, our salvation, our apostolic mission) the failure of harvesting properly would lead to very dire, disastrous consequences for the farmer: starvation, bankruptcy, unemployment… Today, many of us Christians have trouble believing that failure to accept our missionary responsibilities can have similarly disastrous consequences.

The painting, which is at the Metropolitan Museum in New York and always a joy to see there, is a charming scene by Pieter Breughel the Elder. The focus in the painting is on the peasants; some are harvesting and some are eating, thus showing both the production and consumption of food. We further see a person shaking an apple tree on the right. They all work together, united, producing and consuming together, all enjoying a fruits of nature which urgently needed harvesting.

by Patrick van der Vorst

Me? An Apostle?

Me? An Apostle?
October 18, 2019
Feast of Saint Luke, evangelist
Father Daniel Ray, LC, Luke 10: 1-9 
After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore, ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace to this house!' And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.'"
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are present here as I turn to you in prayer. I trust and have confidence in your desire to give me every grace I need to receive today. Thank you for your love, thank you for your immense generosity toward me. I give you my life and my love in return.
Petition: Lord, increase my faith so that in any trial I will trust in you.
  1. Amazing Graces: Luke, whose feast we celebrate in today’s liturgy, is the only gentile author in the New Testament. It was part of God’s design that he be chosen by God to be the author of one of the Gospels and the Book of Acts. “Who am I to receive such a grace?” Luke might easily have said to himself, marveling at the gratuitousness with which he received his role within the Church. An honest look at the great grace we have received in being called to be part of God’s Church should bring us to say the same thing: Who are we to receive such an incredible blessing?! Why did we receive this grace and our next-door neighbor did not? Why have so many souls in the history of the world never had the opportunity to know about Christ, but we have? Only one answer comes close. God wants it, and it is part of his plan of love for all mankind. 
  2. More Hands on Deck: Here is a true situation at a parish on the West Coast: After five draining hours in the confessional, the priest climbs out to verify that no one else is in line. This is the normal Sunday morning routine there. During those hours the priest was witness to several powerful conversions, souls finding peace after years of struggle, other saintly souls whose delicate consciences were cause for admiration, and still others moving along with a “more-or-less” attitude in their response to God, but who were helped by the grace of reconciliation. Many more confessions could be heard, but there simply aren’t enough priests to meet the need. The more confession is offered, the more the faithful take advantage of the opportunity, and the more the Church grows in holiness. Do we pray that God send more laborers to the harvest? 
  3. A Lamb without Sandals: Christ’s comparison almost seems cruel: “I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals….” If he considers the apostles to be like lambs, why on earth would he send them among wolves? As always, Christ wants to stretch the faith of the apostles. “My Father’s providence will take care of you and protect you” is the message he wants them to accept and live. Later he tells them to take these items with them (cf. Luke 22:36), but he also reminds them, “‘When I sent you out with no purse or bag or sandals, did you lack anything?’ They said, ‘Nothing.’” He wants us to rely on him, not on our own skills or talents. While we always need to apply all our God-given human intelligence and prudence, we still need to rely on God to bless our work and fill in for what is lacking. 
Conversation with Christ: Lord, so much of what I’m faced with each day seems to be beyond my capabilities, yet I see clearly that you want me to continue pushing forward, trusting in your providence. This isn’t easy! Help be to have confidence in you.
Resolution: If faced with an obstacle today, I will pray for God’s assistance rather than rely only on myself.
Our Daily Meditation is also available with audio:

Robredo: Our worst and most useless vice president ever


TO very clearly see why Leonor Robredo — the Yellow Cult’s last pathetic attempt to create a false idol — has been the Republic’s worst vice president, one just has to remember our past vice presidents.

In comparison to these, she is an intellectual and political pygmy.

Let’s start with the most recent one. Jejomar Binay had been Makati mayor for six terms, and despite the Yellows’ intense campaign to paint him as corrupt in the past elections, his role in Makati’s growth as the country’s premier financial district is incontestable.

Even as he won the vice presidential post in 2010 against the Yellows, he helped President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino 3rd as chairman of the Housing Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC). He was also presidential adviser for OFW concerns and head of the Task Force OFW, which assisted OFWs who were maltreated by their employers to return to the Philippines with the assistance of the government.

Did he spend his time criticizing his president, to the extent of sending messages to the United Nations and other bodies abroad full of lies about the current administration? No.

His predecessor was Noli de Castro, one of the country’s most successful broadcast journalists who helped President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s often beleaguered administration survive the intense Yellow propaganda against her. For six years, he ably managed the country’s housing program as HUDCC chairman.

Teofisto Guingona had been a veteran senator for 12 years, an executive secretary and justice secretary. In the first year of the Arroyo administration, he had been a voice of wisdom in the Cabinet, and was its foreign secretary. He resigned in 2002, as he was often at odds with Arroyo’s foreign affairs policy. He did support the Yellow opposition, especially after the so-called “Hello Garci” scandal broke out. 

Our recent vice presidents: one is so different.

But did he go around the country and the world spreading lies about the President then, as Robredo has been doing? No.

A university economics professor and trade industry assistant secretary, President Joseph Estrada’s vice president, Arroyo, was a three-term representative of Congress, and took on the job as Social Welfare and Development secretary, giving that department a boost in prestige and influence. She did go against her president, when she resigned her post, in October 2000, since Estrada’s clinging to the presidency had become untenable and damaging to the country’s stability.

Even as she let the wheels of justice run to prosecute Estrada, did she ever go around the country and the world spreading lies to paint her former president evil? No.

Even as he ran against Fidel Ramos’ party, Estrada, mayor of San Juan for 17 years and a senator, was extremely cooperative with his president, and took on the job as head of the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission, which effectively terminated — figuratively or not — the kidnapping gangs that had plagued the country during that time.

Even as Ramos’ propaganda machine started to do him in in 1997, as he was emerging as the strongest candidate for the 1998 elections, did he ever badmouth his president, even as that administration’s alleged corruption had started to smell? No.

Pre-martial law
We can go to vice presidents in the pre-martial law era and what stands out is the fact that all of them were both men of stature in the political firmament and supportive of their presidents, even if one, Diosdado Macapagal, would later run against his president and another, Fernando Lopez would throw the full weight of his clan’s media empire against his president, Ferdinand Marcos.

Given such veritable political, intellectual or economic titans as our past vice presidents, it is indeed astonishing that such a lightweight as Robredo became vice president. It is explicable only if the allegations of massive cheating — such as cases of zero votes in Moro towns or districts where the Iglesia ni Cristo has proven in many elections to have solid command in elections — are true.

Robredo was the Yellows’ pathetic attempt at repeating history — which therefore as the aphorism says it would result in — is a farce. She couldn’t have won election as barangay chairman if her husband Jesse had not died in an accident for the Yellow to use their old “necro-politics” playbook, and if the Yellows did not have such a formidable electoral cheating machine in the last elections.

A more thinking vice president would do what Binay or Arroyo did, which was to fully support the incumbent president, to prove she could be a leader of the nation. But what has she done in the past three or so years? Demonize her president, not only to the country, but to the world.

This verged on treason in 2017 when she sent a video message to the 60th meeting of the UN Commission on Narcotics Drugs, which was full of flies, among them that under the Duterte government “more than 7,000 people have been killed in summary executions.” Every chance she gets, she puts out some inane statement that criticizes the President for every policy, every move he makes.

Assume that there were indeed extrajudicial killings (EJKs) during Duterte’s watch — and I myself believe there have been given that there are undeniably psychopaths in the police, in any police force anywhere in the world — what should a responsible vice president have done?

She should have organized a task force of researchers, para-legals and lawyers to investigate each instance of alleged EJK, and with the prestige of her office, prosecuted these police criminals.

Has she done this in even one case? No.

Do you know who represented the parents of the 17-year-old Kian Loyd de los Santos, whose murder by Caloocan police became the poster for the Yellows’ claims of EJKs under Duterte’s watch? Lawyers of the Public Attorney’s Office, an overworked, understaffed government office.

She doesn’t even consult with the more mature and veteran Liberal Party stalwarts like Senators Franklin Drilon and Manuel “Mar” Roxas. The only two people she is said to listen to are her spokesman Ibarra Gutierrez of the pinko party Akbayan and the Quezon City congressman Jorge Banal, who seems to be always by her side, but whom she has said in a Facebook post as merely her “political close-in.”

We taxpayers gave Robredo’s office P1.7 billion since July 2016 — and P700 million for next year — for her to spread lies around the world?

Robredo is Exhibit A of the damage to our political system inflicted by the Yellows’ in their 18-year-old rule under Corazon Aquino, Ramos and Noynoy, so bad that it produced the worst vice president in our history, who probably even prays she can be president.

And I always thought we were evolving toward a better kind of politics.

Never again, I hope.

Email: tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
Facebook: Rigoberto Tiglao
Twitter: @bobitiglao
Book orders: www.rigobertotiglao.com/debunked


Thursday, October 17, 2019

BBM napasayaw panalo sa round 1 - Dante 10/16


Traffic in Metro Manila, based on the 2015 Global Satisfaction conducted by WazeMetro Manila has the "worst traffic on Southeast Asia". Based on the 2015 Census of population by the Philippine Statistics Authority, the highly urbanized cities of Metro Manila were listed as being some of the densest cities in the world.[1]
Emerson Carlos, MMDA assistant general manager for operation, mentioned that in 2015, the total motor vehicles registered in Metro Manila have already peaked at 2.5 million.[2]


Infrastructure problems[edit]

One of the primary causes of traffic density within Metro Manila is the current transportation infrastructure. Overall, there is a lack of quality infrastructure thus insufficient modes of mobility. The Duterte administration has promised that the coming years will be the, " 'golden age of infrastructure',[3] with a record $168 billion to be spent on 5,000 projects across the nation”.[3]

Road network[edit]

The road network of Metro Manila consists of radial (R-1 to R-10) and circumferential (C-1 to C-5) roads. These are the principal arteries within the city, however given the density of vehicles within the metropolis the roads have become inadequate. "Metro Manila only has 1 km of road per 424 vehicles."[4]
Furthermore, the roads are of poor quality and do not receive maintenance. For example, in the scope of the entire country, "Of the 31,400 km of national roads in the system, only about 45% (14,200 km) were assessed as being in good or fair condition in November 2011.”[5] The poor quality of roads has made road-transportation inefficient. Furthermore, this has contributed to the increase in road accidents, which therefore affects both traffic congestion and public health.

The railway system[edit]

The current railways carry around 1.3 million passengers per day and spans 79 km in 4 different lines.[4] In 1998, plans for a railway expansion were implemented however only 5 km of the planned 73 km was actually built. As such, there exists a lack of an adequate non-road-based public transportation system.[4] This is made evident with the problem of overcrowding during peak hours.

Road-based Public Transport[edit]

In Metro Manila, there exists a variety of road-based public transport, such as tricycles, taxis, buses, and jeepneys which are all privately owned. While there is such a prevalence of these modes of transportation, these "account for more than 50% of daily commuting trips, incur no subsidy, and with low productivity.”[4] Meanwhile, "car travel accounts for 30% of person-km, but constitutes 72% of the road traffic in terms of PCU-km.”[4] The high number of vehicles on the road, which could be attributed to the high population, is one of the contributors to traffic congestion.

Urban planning problems[edit]

The layout of Metro Manila lacks holistic and intrinsic planning from the ground up.[6] The poor design did not account for the density of the city or the eventual propensity to vehicles. A classic example is the facts that the city hosts more vehicles than the roads could afford. Furthermore, laws and policies that are meant to mitigate such poor design are not enforced properly.

Urban area expansion[edit]

The urban area of Metro Manila experiences a high growth rate in population. Within the period of 2000-2001, the city experienced a rate of 1.8%.[4]This growth rate is a result of spillover of people from nearby towns, cities, and provinces. As the main hub of the Philippines, the influx of people is foreseeable yet the city has not taken such into account. Thus, the urban planning of the city is not adequate vis a vis the high population density. Statistics show that the city must "accommodate about an additional two million to six million by 2030.”[4] Thus, if such trend continues, 224 persons per hectare is estimated. This high population thus calls for an appropriate transportation system to allow for mobility within the city.

Traffic congestion[edit]

"Today, traffic demand is at 12.8 million trips in Metro Manila. Most of these trips are made using the public transport owing to its 69% share of total trips. The lesser share of the trips is done by private mode and yet it is this mode that takes up 78% of road space.”[4] At the current state, the traffic volume within the metropolis already exceeds the capacities of existing roads. The urban planning failed to bring into fruition a public transport system that could function in the dense, compact city of Metro Manila.

Economic theories[edit]

The Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure for Metro Manila and its Surrounding Areas (Region III & Region IV-A) study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in response to the National Economic Development (NEDA) request for assistance in creating a guide for transport development in Metro Manila, the two regions of Central Luzon and CALABARZON. The guide was made to help NEDA deliberate on the contents of a short-term (2014 - 2016) and a medium term (2017 - 2022) transport investment program (TRIP).
For the short-term transport investment program (TRIP), it takes the goals of the Philippine Development Plan for 2011 to 2016 and makes it into projects in the transport sector. It has invested as much as 5% of the GDP in infrastructure as one of the five key strategies to achieving the TRIP. A huge difference from the previous investing rate, which was as low as 2% of the GDP.
Same study has also found that during their research period, the Metro Manila traffic was costing the city and the people Php 2.4 billion per day in the year 2012. And, if no measures are undertaken, this transport cost can rise up to Php 6.0 billion per day in 2030. This is will be worst-case scenario in the increase of transport costs in Metro Manila and the areas of Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite if there will be no improvements done on the transport infrastructure of these areas and the Philippines overall.[7]

High population[edit]

In Busina: Current State, Alternatives and Emerging Filipino Values on Metro Manila Traffic, Metro Manila is classified as a global power city. This is because of majority of the industries present in the Philippines have located their offices in the National Capital Region (NCR). The city is also where all the foreign consulates and embassies are situated. This makes NCR the home of finance and commerce, hence the allure of in-migration from Filipinos from the provinces. Although this is not the main cause of road traffic in the city, the influx of people adds to it.[8]

Heavy traffic congestion alongAlfonso Mendoza Street (formerly Calle AndalucĂ­a), Manila
Yves Boquet, in his paper Battling Congestion in Manila: The EDSA Problem, quotes Robert Cervero in saying globalization, outsourcing and relocating much of the manufacturing activities are just some of the other causes that add to the high population in Metro Manila. These activities are mainly responsible for the influx that was previously mentioned. These activities are creating the job that appeal to people in the province to make the move.

Growing number of private 4-wheel vehicles[edit]

Another cause of heavy traffic in the cities is the increase of the purchasing power of most people in Metro Manila.[9] According to Euromonitor’s Consumer Lifestyles in the Philippines (2015), young professionals in the Metro tend to buy small cars such as Toyota Wigo, Mitsubishi Mirage, and Honda Jazz that adds to road congestion. This is due to the affordability of the said cars, which gives them reason not to use public transport.[10]
Referring back to the study of the EDSA Problem, it dubs the avenue as the main passageway of the Greater Manila area, the city accounts for 35.7% of the Philippines’ economic output, 18% of its population and 28% of its motor vehicles. All of which are accommodated on barely 0.2% of the country’s land area.[9]
According to the study of MMDA[11], in EDSA alone, there are 247,527 private 4-wheel vehicles that ply everyday. It has the highest number compared to motorcyclestaxibus, and trucks.

Public transportation system[edit]

jeepney with a bus in Manila
The main modes of public transport in the Philippines are jeepneysbuses, taxis, trains and tricycles, all of which are readily available in Metro Manila. The introduction of transportation apps Grab and Uber came in 2013 and 2014, respectively, further widening the options of public transport. The Philippine traffic was considered the world’s 9th worst in 2015 by Numbeo despite this range of public transport options. Although there is a wide array of choices, the public still spend an average of 45.5 minutes before reaching their workplace. This is why most Filipinos still find travelling via public transport inconvenient due to the high vehicle density and the unavoidable traffic congestion, according to Euromonitor’s Consumer Lifestyles in the Philippines (2015).[10]

Road accidents[edit]

According to Metro Manila Accident Reporting and Analysis System (MMARAS) data from 2008 to 2011 and a study of the severity of road crashes in Metro Manila, accidents that involved heavy and multiple vehicles, and an elderly pedestrian (60 years old and above), as well as those that occurred during the evening (7 pm to midnight) and late at night (1 am to 5 am) had significantly higher odds of resulting in a fatal outcome. But when the crash involves a female pedestrian and when the road surface is wet the odds of a fatal outcome are lower. The study found that most accidents involving pedestrians happen on high-speed, high-traffic-volume, multilane roadways, that are surrounded by land uses that generate a mix of heavy vehicular and pedestrian traffic. It was also found that fatal crashes involving pedestrian happen close to different types of transit stations.[12]

History Need Not Repeat Itself

History Need Not Repeat Itself
October 17, 2019
Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, bishop and martyr 
Father Daniel Ray, LC, Luke 11: 47-54
The Lord said: "Woe to you! You build the memorials of the prophets whom your ancestors killed. Consequently, you bear witness and give consent to the deeds of your ancestors, for they killed them, and you do the building. Therefore, the wisdom of God said, 'I will send to them prophets and apostles; some of them they will kill and persecute' in order that this generation might be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who died between the altar and the temple building. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood! Woe to you, scholars of the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter." When he left, the scribes and Pharisees began to act with hostility toward him and to interrogate him about many things, for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are present here as I turn to you in prayer. I trust and have confidence in your desire to give me every grace I need to receive today. Thank you for your love, thank you for your immense generosity toward me. I give you my life and my love in return.

Petition: Lord Jesus Christ, help me to follow your example and set a good example for others. 
  1. History Will Teach Us Something: Israel’s response to God’s love, as seen in the Old Testament, is pocked and pitted with infidelity, abuse, and ingratitude. At times the people outright reject God and whomever he sends to guide them back to his loving care. These falls from God’s grace are instructive for us today. We see the grandeur of what God did for the people of Israel and marvel at it. We should be aghast at how a people who received so much could respond so little. But more than this, we need to use this history of Israel as a mirror in which to regard our own lives: to recognize the same patterns of failure and lack of fidelity in our own lives and use this self-reflection to inspire us to return to the Lord. If we fail to admit our weaknesses and failures, however, we will be like the Pharisees to whom Christ spoke, who brought the blood of the prophets upon their own heads because of their stubbornness and hardness of heart.
  2. History Repeats Itself: On one occasion Christ warns the disciples that if this is the way he is treated, they should expect no less themselves (cf. John 15:20). Do we honestly expect not to have to face some difficulty as disciples of the Lord? Of course not. But what if that difficulty comes from within? This is from where the most serious menaces to our discipleship come. Our pride, our vanity, our love of comfort: these are the battlegrounds and the martyrs’ fields where first and foremost we need to suffer for being a disciple of the Lord. The prophets and martyrs who suffered for their zeal for the Lord did so even up to the cost of their lives. He might not need us to lay our lives on the line in quite the same way, but an interior sacrifice is what Christ does ask of everyone whom he calls.
  3. Stoppage Time: One of the key moments in Edith Stein’s conversion happened when she went into a Catholic Church to see what it was like, and as she sat there in silence, an older woman came in to spend a few moments with Christ in the Eucharist. She had groceries in her hand and was obviously on her way home to prepare dinner. For young Edith, still struggling with belief in God, it was an example of just how grounded in day-to-day reality the Catholic faith is. There is little chance that woman ever knew the importance her example played in helping form this future saint and patroness of Europe, but the woman’s authentic faith was just what Edith needed to see. Our living witness is critical for those around us, whether or not we ever see or hear of the consequence. We can serve as an occasion of grace, or we can be a stumbling block on the path that delays someone from arriving at the place God wants to lead them.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, I know that I am an integral part in your plan to save souls. You have the confidence to use me as a channel of your grace for those around me, particularly those closest to me. I offer you my life today. Use me as a channel of grace and a testimony to your love.
Resolution: I will offer to God today the sacrifice necessary to change something in my behavior that might be an obstacle for someone else coming to know Christ better.
Our Daily Meditation is also available with audio: