What A World!
Some enjoy traveling. Others not. I happen
to belong to the last category. So in order
to transform what can be an unpleasant chore
into something pleasant, I always pick up
as many newspapers and magazines as I can
as I try to stuff my brain with things new
It always startles me to realize what kind
of world we live in.
I knew that money is important. I knew also
that money creates problems; Saint Paul even
says that the love for money is the root
of all evil. But I did not know it is so
heavy! The news item said, 'it weighed 28
tons and took as much room as 74 washing
machines'. It was $2.4 billion in $100 bills
that was transferred to Baghdad in a special
delivery to help run the country as the Interim
Iraqi government took over! The Federal Reserve
Bank of New York had to open its vault on
Sunday, a day banks are not usually open.
They even had to line up a special Air Force
C130 plane to hold the money. "Just
when you think you've seen it all… "
read one email from an exasperated Fed official.
In a public school in London Ontario parents
were enraged because they received a letter
from the principal asking them for permission
to distribute the New Testament for free!
Enraged?! Complaints came in after the principal
sent letters home with pupils, asking them
if they wanted a free copy of the Bible.
If parents returned the permission slip saying
yes, kids could pick up a Bible at the main
office. Are we becoming so allergic to religion?
What is wrong with parents being able to
say yes or no to a Bible? What happened to
the right to choose?
When I asked my pastor why he never reads
papers, he quipped 'I hardly have the time
to read the Good News, why should I waste
my time reading the bad news?!' Well, sometimes
the papers do carry good news! A survey examining
religion in medicine found out that most
US doctors believe in God and in an afterlife.
Of the 1044 doctors surveyed, 76% said they
believe in God, 59% said they believe in
some kind of an-after life, and 55% said
their religious beliefs influence how they
practice medicine. "We were surprised,"
said one of the researchers. This news was
carried on the USA Today.
I did not know whether I should have smiled
or take seriously the article that appeared
on the Honolulu Advertiser on the relationship
between faith and diet. Prayer, I read, can
help some people avoid overeating. To underscore
the point, the article spoke of Jodi Hertz,
an Oahu mother of three, who had been overweight
all her adult life. To prove it there was
even her photo. She had tried diet clubs,
drugs, low-carbs, low fat, you name it. Then
she had a change of heart. "I used to
go to the food, now I go to God to get the
needs filled" she confessed. It has
been four and a half years and she is 85
pounds lighter! The whole program aims to
transfer relationships with the world - food,
smoking, filth, money, porn - to a relationship
Call it animal instinct, call it a miracle
but it is surely uncanny. It happened in
Ethiopia. A 12 year old girl was abducted
and beaten by seven men trying to force her
into marriage. Three lions came out of the
forest, chased the captors away and waited
besides the girl until some relatives came
to fetch her up. "Then they just left
her and went back into the forest" Sgt
Wedajo said. "Everyone thinks this is
some kind of miracle, because normally the
lions would attack people." Animals
beat men in compassion!
An obituary in the Financial Times on Cardinal
Jaime Sin, the former archbishop of Manila,
had this one of a kind statement. "Cardinal
Sin liked to say that if his parents had
believed in birth control he would never
have been born. He was the fourteenth of
sixteen children! Perhaps the Church is right!
Do not tamper with nature! In China, the
Herald Tribune reports, have a serious problem.
They have a serious glut of boys! Demographers
predict that in a few decades China would
have up to 40 million bachelors unable to
find mates! It all started when the Communist
party, in an effort to curb China's population
growth, adopted a one child policy. This
has led many families to use prenatal scans
and selective abortions to make certain that
their child is a boy. Result? Today China
has one of the world's worse cases of 'missing
Yes we live in a strange world. This is the
conclusion I always arrive when I read all
these newspapers all at once. "It is
often said", wrote the editor of the
Air Canada magazine, "that comedy is
tragedy that happens to someone else"!
Mel Brooks once quipped that "Tragedy
is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you
walk into an open sewer and die." Perhaps
we should start thinking of doing something
about all this!
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
hereby granted for any non-commercial
provided that the content is unaltered
its original state, if this copyright