Thoughts To Live By…

Archive for January 10th, 2009

Sunday Gospel Reflection: Mk 1:7-11
Feast of the Lord’s Baptism

One time three pastors were discussing about bat infestation in their churches. “I got so mad,” said one, “I took a shotgun and fired at them. Some got killed but the majority are still up there.” “I tried pesticide spray,” said the second pastor, “but those damn bats gave birth to new ones.” “I haven’t had any more problems,” said the third pastor.”What did you do?” asked the interested two. “I simply baptized them,” he replied. “I haven’t seen them in church since!”

Indeed, like those bats, after baptism many Christians are never seen in church again. This is what the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines called “unchurched.” “Unchurched” has three categories:

First, the “nominal catholics.” These refer to the catholics in name only or the so-called KBL (Kasal, Binyag, Libing) Christians. Or, as one Bishop described it: Katolikong nakaalala lamang sa Dios tuwing panahon ng Kulog at kidlat, Baha at bagyo, Lahar at lindol. Or, as someone put it, Christians who come to church only three times in their whole lifetime – when they are “hatched, (in Baptsm) matched (in Marriage), dispatched (in Funeral Rite)” … to the cemetery or memorial garden.

Second, the “uninformed and unformed faithful.” These refer to that many baptized Catholic Christians who grow up grossly ignorant of religious instructions and their obligations as Christians and were not formed by Christian values and virtues.

Third, the”uninterested parishioners.” These refer to the majority of Christian parishioners who are indifferent, lukewarm and uninvolved to the mission and goals of the parish. In particular, uninterested to get involved with any program, project and activity of the parish.

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Jesus is baptized not because he is a sinner but because he wants to be in solidarity with us especially in our journey towards the Kingdom of God. That he is with us and is one of us. Furthermore, the baptism of Jesus is more of  a revelation of who he is and what his mission should be. As William Barclay writes: “So in the baptism there came to Jesus two certainties–the certainty that he was indeed the chosen One of God, and the certainty that the way in front of him was the way of the Cross.”

As we celebrate this Feast of the Baptism of the Lord we are reminded of the necessity of baptism in relation to our salvation and the mission entrusted to us when we were baptized in the Lord. Is baptism really necessary? Yes, because baptism is or calls us to:

B – bath of rebirth. Original and actual sins are washed away and the baptized becomes a new creation
A – anointing with the Holy Spirit. The baptized, like Jesus, is anointed as priest, prophet and king.
P – erfection of Charity and Fullness of Christian life when it is no longer I who lives in me but Christ.
T – otal dedication and commitment to live the truth of faith in every moment and aspect of life.
I – nterior repentance and conversion toward new life in Christ.
S – eal of salvation. The baptized is sealed with indelible character that he belongs to Christ and marked to be saved.
M – ission to bear fruits of good works, holiness and evangelization.

St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians reminds us that to glorify God is to be “in the church and in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 3:21). Hence, faith and baptism are joined as preconditions of salvation (Mark 16:16). It is, therefore, fitting and praiseworthy to renew our baptismal promises to love God above all and to reject Satan and all his wickedness.

Useful Articles:

Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor… Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.

Author:  Mother Teresa

The night before her wedding, a girl kneels down to pray. She prays for 3 things:

“Dear God, please make my husband faithful to me.
“Dear God, please keep me from finding out when he is unfaithful to me.
“Dear God, please keep me from caring when I find out he is unfaithful to me.”

Joke told in Degollado, Mexico, summer of 1996

Marital Infidelity – The Facts
The facts about marital infidelity (sexual unfaithfulness to a spouse) are astounding. Polls show that although 90% of married people disapprove of extramarital relationships, statistics from a national survey indicate that 15% of wives and 25% of husbands have experienced extramarital intercourse. These numbers increase by 20% when emotional affairs and sexual relationships without intercourse are included. Another source, The Monogamy Myth, authored by Peggy Vaughan, approximates that 60% of husbands and 40% of wives will have an affair at some time in their marriage.

Marital Infidelity – The Truth
Another term for marital infidelity is adultery. The New Encyclopedia Britannica reports that, “adultery seems to be as universal and, in some instances, as common as marriage.” In fact, marriage researcher, Zelda West-meads, states that although much adultery is never discovered, “all the evidence points to affairs being on the increase.”

These statistics are shocking, but what is even more alarming is that they do not even come close to exposing the strong emotional impact that marital infidelity has on people’s lives. Imagine the inconsolable grief and pain, not to mention the confusion, anxiety, and sleepless nights that are all wrapped up in these percentages. When all is out in the open, the faithful spouse may survive the nightmare, but his or her scars will not easily heal, and the damage done to the marriage may never be completely repaired. Extra marital affairs can also take its toll in some long-term consequences that both spouses will have to deal with for many years, such as sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.

Marital Infidelity – Why it Happens
The reasons for marital infidelity are as many and as varied as the people involved. Emily M. Brown, LCSW, Director of Key Bridge Therapy and Mediation Center, has categorized the reasons for extramarital affairs as follows: conflict avoidance, intimacy avoidance, sexual addiction, split self, and exit. Many of the reasons outlined here fit into one or more of these categories.

Interestingly, marital affairs are not always a sign of a troubled marriage. Some spouses succumb to the lure of an extramarital relationship as the result of experiencing abnormal stress over a normal lifestyle change, such as becoming a parent or an empty nester. So adultery can occur in happy marriages as well as unhappy ones. In some cases, the marriage partners may appear contented to outsiders, but the husband or wife begins an affair because of their own low self-esteem, habitual conflict avoidance, or fear of intimacy. The faithful spouse has worked hard for the marriage; but no matter how hard they work, the unfaithful spouse is going to have an affair because of their own deficiencies. Other reasons for marital infidelity are typically symptomatic of an unhealthy, and often, failing marriage. These are things like the lack of affection between the marriage partners, the sexual addiction of one or both spouses, the feelings of sexual entitlement based on gender or status, and the means of exiting from an unhappy marriage.

No matter how marital infidelity is categorized, all of the reasons are like a disease that eats away at the roots of a healthy plant to eventually kill it. Marital infidelity can never be the cure for that disease. Instead, extramarital affairs cause the disease to metastasize like cancer, and soon the entire marriage is infected and extreme measures must be taken to save it.


As painful as infidelity can be, it can serve as an opportunity to work on and strengthen a relationship. Experts emphasize the importance of couples counseling and the support of loved ones when on the road to recovery from infidelity.

Hatfield (2003) provides the following nine steps for overcoming infidelity:

•  In order to move on, the infidelity must end.

•  Be ready for “ups and downs after infidelity.” It’s normal to have rough patches.

•  The partner who committed infidelity must open up and talk about the affair to their betrayed spouse.

•  Though it may feel uncomfortable or unfair, the person who had committed infidelity must be totally accountable to their spouse, providing daily details on where they go, who they see, etc. —whatever it takes to rebuild trust.

•  The partner who had an affair must be willing to renew his or her promise of faithfulness to their partner and provide genuine assurance that they will not commit infidelity again.

•  The person who was betrayed must be given as much time as necessary to move on, even though the person who strayed may want to move on more quickly.

•  The reasons and motivation behind the infidelity must be determined and used to create a plan for preventing infidelity in the future.

•  Both people in the marriage must make a commitment to rebuilding their relationship. Even the betrayed partner must consider how they may have contributed to their partner’s infidelity.

•  Try couples counseling or marriage education classes that address infidelity.

Of course, not all marriages survive infidelity. If therapy and efforts to reconnect and forgive fail, the best decision may be to end the marriage. Lusterman 1998 points out that it is healthy to end a marriage affected by infidelity when, having given it the deepest effort possible, it becomes clear that the relationship is can not work.

Those who leave a marriage in order to pursue a relationship rooted in infidelity will most often be disappointed. Lusterman explains that while affairs may feel like they are based on intensely powerful and real connections, such relationships are shielded from life’s realities such that one’s perceptions of the relationship and their partner in infidelity are distorted and unrealistic. Once the relationship is grounded in everyday life, the excitement of the relationship and idealized image of the partner quickly disappear.

Source: www.

January 2009
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