Saturday, July 07, 2007

Lamb of God

"Look, there is the Lamb of God." (John 1:36)

The Lamb is one of John's favorite images for Jesus. It is one that is full of meekness, gentleness and tenderness. Jesus is not the lion of God or the horse of God but rather the Lamb of God. Everything in the scripture is written to teach us some truth. Jesus is the image of God the Father. One of the purposes of His incarnation is to reveal to us the nature of the Father. Jesus is the God who is meek, gentle and tender. A God that is very lovable.

Jesus as the Lamb of God is a concept we can all relate to: young and old, poor and rich, strong and weak. The New Testament has so many names for Jesus: Emmanuel, Prince of peace, High Priest, Son of David, etc. The Lamb is one of the tenderest descriptions of Jesus. It is an image of the power that created the universe presented as powerless.

Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. The Lamb defeated the ferocious enemy, the ruler of the powers and principalities. The Lamb was slaughtered but now is alive forever more. Is it not amazing that the image of a lamb is used to portray the power that defeated Satan? God displays His mighty power through meekness, gentleness and tenderness, rather than through brutal force.

Lord Jesus, make us meek, gentle and tender lambs.

See: Navarre Bible: St John

Friday, July 06, 2007

TheLight of the world

"The Word was the light that enlightens all men." (John 1:9)

The Word is Jesus Christ. Jesus provides meaning for the life of man. This meaning is the light that guides us in dark places of the world. Without this light, we move in darkness and error. The Word gives meaning to the spiritual nature of man. He explains everything about man in relation to God.

There are two lights in the world: the light of the Word and the light of Satan, which is in reality darkness. This light is error; it distorts the image of man by trying to portray man as purely a material being. But Christ is the true light of the world. Where is this light? Where is Christ? Where Christ is, there is the light. Christ is alive in the Church; He is in His word; He is also in the sacraments of the Church. Christ is also anywhere two or three people are gathered in His name. It is obvious that we cannot perceive Jesus today with our physical eyes. We need faith to do so.

How do we apply this scripture today? The word of God is the true light that enlightens me on: health, family, food, tools, job and money. Any other light will lead me into error. When we ask prayerfully this question: What does the word of God say on health, family, job, food, money or tools, the answer we get will guide me to right action in relation to all these basic necessities of life.

See: Navarre Bible: St John

Thursday, July 05, 2007

My Top 10 Names for Jesus

"Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,' which means, 'God is with us" (Matthew 1:23).

Jesus Christ is called by many names and titles in the Bible. . All the names are significant. The ten names below are my favorite names for Jesus.

1. Emmanuel : "Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,' which means, 'God is with us" (Matthew 1:23).

2. Alpha and Omega : "I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty (Revelation 1:8).

3. Lamb of God : "Look, there is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world."(John 1:29).

4. Kings of kings : "He is the blessed and only Sovereign, King of kings and Lord of lords." (1 Timothy 6:15).

5. Prince of Peace: "And this is the name he has been given, 'Wonder-Counselor, Mighty-God, Eternal-Father, Prince-of-Peace" (Isaiah 9:5).

6. Teacher : "Rabbi, we know that you have come from God as a teacher" (John 3:2).

7. Living One : "I am the Living One" (Revelation 1:17).

8. Bread of life : "I am the bread of life" (John 6:48).

9. Faithful Witness : "Grace and peace to you from him who is, who was, and who is to come, ...and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness" (Revelation 1:5).

10. Light of the world : "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12).

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


In regards to the Civil Rights Act and its effects in the South (in Atlanta in particular), I have comments about race relations in the southern small town, in this case, the town of Bennettsville, South Carolina.
It appears to me that there is still a “duality” as are as society works in the area around Bennettsville. As for location, the nearest “city” of note is Florence, which is at the eastern terminus of I-20—it is almost 40 miles away. Bennettsville is about 100 miles NE of Columbia, 95 miles SE of Charlotte, NC and 120 miles SW of Raleigh, NC.
The racial make-up of Bennettsville is almost an even split between black and white, with a small percentage of “others” (most of them being of Native American heritage, as the center of the Lumbee Indian group, centered in Pembroke, NC—about 30 miles to the east). Though the different peoples of the area do work together; the young people go to school together, “after hours”, it is a “segregated” society. It seems to me that the society there has been slower to accept social integration than in the larger cities. I’m sure that education (or lack thereof) and the local heritage and economy have a lot to do with it.
Not many people in that region (that is, the area in SC where the border turns from “east” to SE on the way to the coast) are well educated. This is still a largely agricultural area; many of the “older” people worked on the farm; many now work in the factories and small businesses in the area (most of which does not require education beyond high school). Like many areas, the white population is more educated than the black In this area, that may be a legacy of the past; that is, the pre-civil rights era. Like most areas of the South, schools were segregated until the mid to late 1960s, and as has been brought to our attention since, “separate but equal” was “not equal”. Since then, the schools were consolidated—first by placing all students of age groups within the same school that lived in the same city or district; later, “comprehensive” high schools were created to put virtually all (“public”) school students within a school system (often a county) in the same school.

This has helped some of the younger generation to integrate (though the “high society” portion still “segregates” itself by placing their children into private schools, such as “Marlboro Academy”, located about 6 miles NE of Bennettsville). The elders, however, still have the old mindset of “superiority” that stems from the pre-Civil Rights days. In the evening, each seems to have their “own place”; the same is true on Sunday morning [though I am not sure about Catholic or Episcopalian churches, it is definitely true of Baptist and “holiness” churches]. There are some of the Native American population that can “mix in”. One other thing that may influence the “social distance” between races in this area (and possibly much of the South Atlantic Coast region)—the descendants of former slaves in this area were a little more isolated from mainstream American culture than those in other parts of the country. As a result, these people appear to look more “African” shall we say—then black Americans in most other parts of the country. In fact, in this area—especially those on the coast—from around Georgetown, SC (below Myrtle Beach) and Amelia Island, FL (just above Jacksonville) are the “Sea Islands”, which includes the “Gullah” culture—which consists of a group of Black Americans who were the most isolated, and who have retained more of their “original” culture than any other Black Americans in the US. Quite possibly, some of the population of Bennettsville and other communities that are inland from the coast may have some of the Gullah heritage.

A few final notes: As my family (paternal side) is from this area, I have had a chance to observe the communities. Having been brought up in the Atlanta area, I have seen various things as far as interaction between ethnic groups, and in the part of town where I live (College Park, near Hartsfield-Jackson Int’l Airport)—I have seen a lot of “migration” (white people leave; others enter). I have remained in the community, and have adjusted quite well to the demographic changes. If in the event I move from that area, I would not consider the racial make-up to be the primary factor of where I would want to move [e.g. the SW Atlanta area—a nice middle class area—with 90+% black population]. In Bennettsville however, if I were to move there, it is more difficult, as integration in housing is “new” in the area (and never mind the social integration there—I would not be used to things there). In the neighborhood where my father lives, there have been a few people of color who have moved into housing on the same block of my father’s house. Just across Main St—just a block from my father’s house, the demographics are reversed. Such are the housing patterns in Bennettsville, which is probably the case in many Southern rural towns. Finally, as for how do they refer to each other? While in most of America, we use the terms “black” or the more recent “African-Americans”, in the small town, they may use “black”, or some still say “colored” [which has been removed from mainstream America since the 1970s]. Yes, these places are a bit “behind the times” of much of the rest of America (or, it is just more “out in the open” there, and more “discrete” mainstream America….).

Allen M

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Are you confident?

"God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the Lord, and he has been my savior." (Isaiah 12:2)

What makes the word of God so potent in transforming our weakness into strength? One good reason to me is the person behind that word or promise. We know that God cannot fail. The Holy Spirit writes in Isaiah 12:2 "God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the Lord, and he has been my savior." When we receive words like these with an open and trusting heart, incredible strength and courage is born within us. And we feel that we can almost do anything because of Him who gives us strength.

The Bible urges us to have courage and not to be afraid. We need courage as sons to claim our inheritance. Every father realizes this truth. Our Father in heaven knows that we cannot claim our rights as His children without courage. If we believe that God is indeed our Savior and ever present help, then we should be confident and not be afraid. The life of love, praise and worship of our creator which is the very essence of the Christian life demands courage.

See: Some Books on Courage

Monday, July 02, 2007

St. Vincent de Paul Society

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. ….. Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?” (Matthew 6: 25 – 26)

On the 23rd of March, 1997, I confided the following to my journal.

“Yesterday, Ruth and Mary Ann of SVDP came to SAM to take me to help move a Hispanic family from one apartment to another.

Family: Husband died last year. Woman has 6 kids. Eldest, 15 year old girl. Five of the kids are girls. It seemed to me that 5 of them are below 10 years. Woman is pregnant with her 7th child. Woman is illiterate. No English. Family totally dependent on SVDP and welfare. On the face of it, the situation seems hopeless. Woman cannot work even if she finds one. She needs to look after the young ones. The eldest girl, 15 will need another 5 years or so before she can start making a contribution. Some of the kids were barefooted.

Something struck me about the family. They seemed happy. Oblivious of their dire situation. When I entered their house with Ruth, Mary Ann and the Cuban volunteer, the mother of six stepped out, greeted us cheerfully and shook hands. All the kids seemed alive with joie de vivre. Yet from human point of view, their situation seems pitiable.
This is surely a family that lives on hope. Hope that God will continue to provide for them day by day. It reminds me of Christ’s teaching in Matthew 6: 25 – 34. God provides for the birds. He surely will provide for us. I ask myself how many such families exist here in Houston? From my SAM experience, I know that there will be thousands. Again I think of the paradox that is the US. The richest country in the world. The most advanced technologically. Yet with incredible human sufferings of poverty, ignorance, disease, insanity, crimes, etc. I cannot forget the plenty of goodness that exists here: the many volunteer organizations, Christian Radio, TV, especially TBN. What is the destiny of this country? What does the equal mixture of goodness and evil in this society mean?

I thank God for my exposure to SAM and SVDP. Both organizations are giving me invaluable training.”

Sunday, July 01, 2007


“Remember how for forty years now the Lord, your God, has directed all your journeying in the desert, so as to test you by affliction and find out whether or not it was your intention to keep his commandments. He therefore let you be afflicted with hunger, and then fed you with manna, a food unknown to you and your fathers, in order to show you that not by bread alone does man live, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of the Lord. The clothing did not fall from you in tatters, nor did your feet swell these forty years. So you must realize that the Lord, your God, disciplines you even as a man disciplines his son.” (Deuteronomy 8: 2 – 5)

Deuteronomy 8:2
God led you for 48 years in the desert /wilderness
• To humble you
• To test you by affliction

Deuteronomy 8: 3
He humbled you and made you experience hunger.

Deuteronomy 8: 5
Know this: God is training you as a Father trains his con.
Divine filiation