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Monthly Archives: December 2014

Rafael Ramos Laid to Rest

Talk about the funeral of all funerals in New York City.  Today, police officer Rafael Ramos who was assassinated last Saturday was laid to rest.  Over 35,000 police officers from all over the 50 states and even Canada as well as other civilians came to the funeral. The Evangelical worship edifice only sits 800 so the rest were lined up for blocks outside.  I am from New York and have never seen a funeral with so many people and so much display of military style salute.

In attendance were vice president Biden, governor Cuomo, mayor Di Blasio, former mayor Giuliani, the family of slain officer Liu and of course the Ramos family.  The family did not speak at the funeral service. Politicians and the pastors of the Christ Tabernacle sect spoke instead giving words of encouragement to the family. Commissioner Bratton announced that both police officers would be promoted to detective posthumously.  The now Detective Ramos was also officially named a chaplain as well.  He had been studying in the chaplaincy program for the NYPD and was set to graduate the day he was assassinated. The speakers at the funeral described Ramos as being a man of faith who thought of his job as part of God’s work. The Ramos family were visibly in pain, especially the older son Justin who had a face of anguish. The younger son Jaden seemed to be holding in his emotion.

Unfortunately, the ceremony was tarnished by some foolish officers who turned their backs at the jumbo-trons as mayor Di Blasio spoke. This was in poor taste in my opinion. Now the media is focusing on this instead of the life of Detective Ramos. These officers should get suspended in my opinion. They should have waited until both officers were laid to rest in order to continue their childish behavior.

In any event, the ceremony was amazing.  I have never seen anything like it in regards to a police officer ceremony.  There was even a fly over with helicopters in formation. Over 400 officers on motorcycles lead the procession to the cemetery. With the exception of the back-turning cops, the ceremony was dignified and gave a respectful and solemn farewell to the Puerto Rican officer who was assasinated just for being NYPD.  Kudos to each speaker and the pastors who did an excellent job using their words to comfort us all.  Kudos to the organizers both at Christ Tabernacle and the NYPD.

Thank you Detective Rafael Ramos for your dedication and service. You will not be forgotten.  May God bless your soul and give you the rest you deserve. You have made Christ proud for as He said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)”

Some images from the funeral:

Source:

Urbi et Orbi 2014 – Pope Francis



URBI ET ORBI MESSAGE
OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
CHRISTMAS 2014
Thursday, 25 December 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Happy Christmas!
Jesus, the Son of God, the Saviour of the world, is born for us, born in Bethlehem of a Virgin, fulfilling the ancient prophecies. The Virgin’s name is Mary, the wife of Joseph.
Humble people, full of hope in the goodness of God, are those who welcome Jesus and recognize him. And so the Holy Spirit enlightened the shepherds of Bethlehem, who hastened to the grotto and adored the Child. Then the Spirit led the elderly and humble couple Simeon and Anna into the temple of Jerusalem, and they recognized in Jesus the Messiah. “My eyes have seen your salvation”, Simeon exclaimed, “the salvation prepared by God in the sight of all peoples” (Lk 2:30).
Yes, brothers and sisters, Jesus is the salvation for every person and for every people!
Today I ask him, the Saviour of the world, to look upon our brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria, who for too long now have suffered the effects of ongoing conflict, and who, together with those belonging to other ethnic and religious groups, are suffering a brutal persecution. May Christmas bring them hope, as indeed also to the many displaced persons, exiles and refugees, children, adults and elderly, from this region and from the whole world. May indifference be changed into closeness and rejection into hospitality, so that all who now are suffering may receive the necessary humanitarian help to overcome the rigours of winter, return to their countries and live with dignity. May the Lord open hearts to trust, and may he bestow his peace upon the whole Middle East, beginning with the land blessed by his birth, thereby sustaining the efforts of those committed effectively to dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.
May Jesus, Saviour of the world, protect all who suffer in Ukraine, and grant that their beloved land may overcome tensions, conquer hatred and violence, and set out on a new journey of fraternity and reconciliation.
May Christ the Saviour give peace to Nigeria, where [even in these hours] more blood is being shed and too many people are unjustly deprived of their possessions, held as hostages or killed. I invoke peace also on the other parts of the African continent, thinking especially of Libya, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and various regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I beseech all who have political responsibility to commit themselves through dialogue to overcoming differences and to building a lasting, fraternal coexistence.
May Jesus save the vast numbers of children who are victims of violence, made objects of trade and trafficking, or forced to become soldiers; children, so many abused children. May he give comfort to the families of the children killed in Pakistan last week. May he be close to all who suffer from illness, especially the victims of the Ebola epidemic, above all in Liberia, in Sierra Leone and in Guinea. As I thank all who are courageously dedicated to assisting the sick and their family members, I once more make an urgent appeal that the necessary assistance and treatment be provided.
The Child Jesus. My thoughts turn to all those children today who are killed and ill-treated, be they infants killed in the womb, deprived of that generous love of their parents and then buried in the egoism of a culture that does not love life; be they children displaced due to war and persecution, abused and taken advantage of before our very eyes and our complicit silence. I think also of those infants massacred in bomb attacks, also those where the Son of God was born. Even today, their impotent silence cries out under the sword of so many Herods. On their blood stands the shadow of contemporary Herods. Truly there are so many tears this Christmas, together with the tears of the Infant Jesus.
Dear brothers and sisters, may the Holy Spirit today enlighten our hearts, that we may recognize in the Infant Jesus, born in Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary, the salvation given by God to each one of us, to each man and woman and to all the peoples of the earth. May the power of Christ, which brings freedom and service, be felt in so many hearts afflicted by war, persecution and slavery. May this divine power, by its meekness, take away the hardness of heart of so many men and women immersed in worldliness and indifference, the globalization of indifference. May his redeeming strength transform arms into ploughshares, destruction into creativity, hatred into love and tenderness. Then we will be able to cry out with joy: “Our eyes have seen your salvation”.

 

With these thoughts I wish you all a Happy Christmas!

Sony Cancels “The Interview”

There probably hasn’t been a movie in history with so much drama surrounding it which wasn’t in the movie script itself.  The movie “The Interview” which is a comedy about assassinating North Korean leader Kim Joung un was set to be played in movie theaters on Christmas day.  All was well until Sony Pictures was hacked.  Information was stolen and posted online, including emails from top executives who said some nasty things about actors and even the president.

In the days that followed, threats were made to Americans and Sony if the movie was not pulled completely. Due to these threats, many theaters chose to not play the movie on December 25 which forced Sony Pictures to cancel the screening altogether. Many complained about this decision including the president of the United States who saw it as a censorship of free speech. North Korean officials denied being involved in the hacking and even offered to help America figure out who did it. However, the FBI insisted that it was the work of North Korea whose leader is afraid of mockery and satire of himself.

Well after this, Sony Pictures decided to put the show back on, so to speak.  “The Interview” will be screened in about 200 theaters across the nations. Many are calling this a victory for free speech. It is believed that this decision was the result of a mysterious internet outage that North Korea is facing. President Obama has said that America would respond but never elaboration. Many believe the internet outage was the work of Americans.

I am glad that Sony decided to screen the film. Having cyber bullies force someone to do something is just horrible and against the principles of freedom that Americans enjoy. Nevertheless, some people are skeptic and believe that many this was all a stunt to get people interested in the movies.  Others believe that maybe North Korea shut its own internet off.  Who knows?

Source:

http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-30589472

http://www.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/news/2014/12/23/sony-reverses-the-interview-cancellation-alamo.html

http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/dec/17/sony-pictures-cancels-christmas-release-the-interview

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/12/17/the_interview_ny_premiere_cancelled_after_hacker_terrorist_threats/

http://www.theverge.com/2014/12/19/7421373/sony-hackers-wont-release-more-data-because-the-interview-cancelled

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-24/sony-confirms-limited-us-release-of-the-interview/5986614

https://tv.yahoo.com/news/sony-paralyzed-computer-hacker-attack-185042308.html

https://www.yahoo.com/movies/s/sony-hackers-preparing-large-christmas-gift-201239690.html

http://metro.co.uk/2014/12/23/north-korea-back-online-after-nine-hour-blackout-following-suspected-cyber-attack-4997098/