VICTOR S E MOUBARAK

Saturday, 29 December 2012

More Scientific Facts




Did you know that Absolute Zero is the lowest possible temperature you can ever get to? You just cannot get any lower than Absolute Zero.

It is in fact -273.15° on the Celsius scale and −459.67° on the Fahrenheit scale. It is over 100 kilos on the bathroom scale if you have been over-eating lately.

At Absolute Zero nothing really happens. The buses will not run so it is pointless waiting for them at the bus stop. And don’t even be tempted to lick the bus stop sign whilst you're there because there may be all sort of germs on it.

Absolute Zero is also what most men get from their wives when they've said something that upsets them.

Moving up from Absolute Zero, the highest temperature that has ever been recorded is on a ladder 35 feet tall. It was when an amorous young knight in Olde England attempted to deliver a plate of spaghetti to his paramour who was trapped in a tower because the door was frozen solid and he couldn't turn the key in the lock.

Which reminds me … I once saw a ghost with an eye-patch! He said he was going through the keyhole when someone put the key in.

Hot temperatures can be very hazardous to health, especially in the kitchen whilst cooking. Most accidents in the home happen in the kitchen. Scientists believe this would not be the case if people cooked their meals in the bedroom instead. But unfortunately people rarely follow scientific instructions.

The instructions on the packet of quick cook rice said “Take sachet out of packet and stand in boiling water for 10 minutes”. I did that and burnt my feet.

I also read in my Cooking Instruction Manual that to avoid tears whilst peeling and cutting onions you should do it under water. It works, but you have to come up for air every few seconds.

An elaborate meal is a bird within a bird within a bird. Basically you stuff and cook a small bird in a bigger one, say a baby partridge inside a chicken, and the chicken inside a large goose. Do not use a grouse for this because people with a grouse are not very cheerful.

To prepare a bird within a bird is very easy. Basically you have the chicken swallow the baby partridge and then the goose swallows the chicken. Whenever the goose opens its mouth the chicken’s head comes out and says “Cockledeedledoo !!!” and as it does so the partridge looks out of the chicken’s mouth and smiles. And swallows fly all over your kitchen.

Care for another glass of whisky?

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Have you heard the one about ...

The comedian stood on the stage and shouted "12".

And the audience laughed in unison.

He then said "15" and they laughed even louder.

He cried out "23" and they stamped their feet with delight as they laughed and applauded.

He continued with his repertoire "24 ... 33 ... 39 ..." and the audience were in tears with laughter as he kept calling out various numbers.

After about fifteen minutes or so on stage I asked him afterwards in his room what all that was about.

He explained, "This is a very loyal audience who follow me everywhere wherever I do a show. Over the years they got to know all my jokes and they enjoy hearing them over and again. In order to make the show go faster, and so that I can pack in more jokes, I have printed them all out and numbered them. The audience have memorised all the jokes. Now all I have to do is call out the number, they remember the joke, and laugh at it!"

I was amazed at what he had just said. "Why ..." I asked hesitantly, "why did they not laugh when you said 42?"

"They had not heard that joke before!" he answered.

Over the passed few days we have heard the story of Christmas read out in church several times.

A pregnant Virgin and her husband go to Bethlehem on a donkey. There is no room in the inn. They go to the stable where a baby is born and placed in a manger. An Angel appears to shepherds and announces the Birth; and a star guides three Kings from the East to the stable.

We've all heard the story many times before and no doubt we will hear it again next Christmas and beyond.

Is it yet another old story from folklore which tradition repeats every twelve months and, like that comedian's audience, we remember once again and smile silently as we celebrate with family and friends?

Or is it perhaps something more important than that? In fact, the most important event that has ever happened in the history of the world.

God, the Creator of the whole Universe and what is in it and beyond it, loved us so much that He decided to make Himself flesh and visit us on earth as a human being.

I wonder how many people, as they celebrate the "12" days of Christmas from the 25th to the 6th, stop for a moment and really and seriously think about the awesomeness that this event really means?  

1? ... 3? ... 7? ... 100? ... More?

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Future Foretold



The fair was in town once again with all its amusement stalls and tents pitched in the park opposite St Vincent Church. The lights were shining bright on the big wheel, the round-about and other rides, whilst the music blared for miles around.

Father Ignatius was in the church’s car park when he overheard some youngsters talking loudly:

“I’ve had my fortune told by Mystic Matilda. She looked into the glass ball and it turned all full of smoke inside.”

“What did she tell you? You’re a loser and will always be a loser …”

And somehow, just these words, a snip of an overheard conversation became the basis of Father Ignatius’ sermon on Sunday.

He approached the lectern and asked: “Did anybody here go to the fair last night?”

A few nods and yeses greeted his unusual question.

“I hear there was a fortune teller there. Did anyone go to check their fortune?”

Not many volunteers this time.

“Interesting thing telling peoples’ future … it’s all nonsense of course; but then you all know that, don’t you?” asked the priest with a smile.

“Let’s suppose for a minute that it is not nonsense at all. Let’s suppose that the fortune-teller in the park opposite can really tell your future.

“Let’s suppose Mystic Matilda, for that is her name I believe, can really foretell your future and it is really accurate every time. Every little detail of it. And unfortunately for you she predicts a bad future.

“She says that you’ll lose your job within six months. You’ll suffer a terrible painful illness. You’ll have an accident … I’m sure you know what I mean ….

“And you’re certain the fortune-teller is always accurate and these things will happen. There’s no escaping your fate. How do you feel about that?”

Total silence greeted his piercing question; so Father Ignatius pointed to the children sitting up front, “How about you … you look very intelligent to me. Can anyone tell me how you would feel if you knew your future will be bad?”

A young girl raised her hand and said, “I’d feel terrible and very frightened.”

“Yes Louise … you’re right. You’d feel terrible and very frightened indeed. You’d be terrified and most likely want to change your future at all costs.

“Now let me tell you about someone who knew His future well in advance. Probably from the age of twelve; just the same age as you sitting here up front. When He was found by His parents in the temple in Jerusalem.

“He knew then what was going to happen to Him all His life. He knew He would be betrayed by His own follower. He would be arrested. Beaten, spat upon, mocked and tortured. A crown of thorns put on His head. Made to carry His own Cross and then die a most horrible painful death Crucified between two thieves.

“He knew all that throughout His life. Being human He must have shared the same human emotions we have. He would have been very frightened and terrified just like young Louise said.

“Being human He most probably had nightmares about His whole future. How often I wonder as a young teenager did He wake up in the night having seen His future in His dreams. Can you imagine how terrible this must have been? Knowing what would happen to you and there’s no escape?

“Daily His future must have been on his mind. Just seeing the terrible suffering that He had to face must have been in itself a daily torture for Him. All that evil that is to come His way at our hands!

“But did He give up? Did He try to run away from it? Did He try to change His future?

“When He prayed in the garden before His arrest the devil did tempt Him. Jesus did ask God His Father to make it all go away … but then accepted His terrible terrible fate just for us.

“He was both God and man, and as man He suffered all that pain and that horrible death on the Cross, just for us.”

Father Ignatius stopped for a few seconds, then continued.

“And now I want to address you mothers … how would you feel if you knew for certain what would happen to your children? Your loved ones. And you were told for certain that the future would be terrible for them.

“Can you imagine for a moment how Mary felt throughout her life?

“She knew from the moment she presented the baby Jesus in the temple when Simeon told her sorrow, like a sharp sword, will break your own heart. She knew then what would happen to her Son.

“Can you imagine that? Raising a little child, hugging Him, loving Him and caring for Him. Teaching Him to take His first faltering steps, teaching Him to talk, feeding Him and looking after Him every day like a devoted loving mother does.

“And knowing every moment she does these loving things what is to happen to her precious child. Knowing every detail that is to happen to Him. How did she cope with her own Cross to carry throughout her life?

“Not only did she carry this terrible pain in her heart throughout her life, but she lived to witness it as well. For she was there, at the foot of the Cross, when her Son breathed His last breath. She held His dead body in her arms. My heart breaks just thinking about it ….

The priest stopped for a while and silently thanked our Lady for accepting her ordeal on our behalf.

“Now what are we to learn from all this?” asked Father Ignatius in a soothing voice.

“Our future is uncertain; we may be concerned, frightened even, about what is to happen to us and to our children. The financial situation in this town is in a very bad state with many losing their jobs. Prospects are none too good, and it is understandable if we sometimes feel a little apprehensive and doubtful.

“Let us learn from Jesus and Mary and take courage. God was always with them and at no time did He abandon them. Nor will He abandon us.

“When we’re feeling anxious and worried let us turn to Mary and ask her help. Let’s implore her to come to our aid. She has lived through terrible times and she’ll know exactly how we feel. And I’m certain she’ll console us and help us to go on; just like she did all those years ago.

“Let’s honour her right now by reciting the Hail Mary …”

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Why did Jesus have to come to earth?



Another week, another Friday. Father Ignatius set out from St Vincent Church to St Joseph Catholic School to take on the Catechism class with the 15 years old.

It was always a challenge facing those youngsters, especially since he allowed a few minutes at the end of class for free discussion. They could ask anything they wanted and he promised to give them an honest answer – even if he didn’t have an answer, he promised them to say so.

A young pupil put up her hand and asked:

“Why did Jesus have to come to earth? Why didn’t God continue to speak through the prophets like Moses and all the others? And send His Commandments and messages that way? Did Jesus really have to come and die for us to be forgiven? Couldn't God just forgive us?”

“That’s an intelligent question Catherine,” replied the priest, “in fact it’s more than one question; all intelligent at that!”

The young pupil smiled proudly.

“I am not God,” said Father Ignatius, “and I cannot possibly explain what went through His mind when He sent us Jesus; or His motivation for Christ’s Virgin birth, sinless life, death and Resurrection. I know and believe that God decided to send us His Son Jesus to die for us. Yes, He could have just forgiven us, as you say. Being God, He could have done what He wishes, and still can. But I believe that He sent us Jesus, His Son ... and when Jesus was raised to Heaven He sent us the Holy Spirit, who is still with us today ... ”

He stopped for a while to clean his glasses which gained him some thinking time; then putting them back on he continued:

“Let me tell you a story I heard years ago …”

The whole class was now focused on his every word. He knew how to captivate their attention and he firmly believed that honesty, combined with his modern-day parables, would make them remember what he had to say and hopefully mold them into a lifetime founded on the Word of God.

“Once upon a time there was a farmer living in Canada where, as you know, the winters can be very cold and miserable.



“One such cold winter evening in the midst of a very violent snow storm, the farmer was in his home keeping warm by the fireside when he heard banging on the side of his house.

“What could it possibly be? He thought as he heard the continuous thump, thump, thump coming from outside?

“He ignored it at first, but as his dog was getting a little fractious by the sound the farmer put on his heavy overcoat and woolly hat and went outside to investigate.

“He struggled in the blinding snow and nearly slipped once or twice.



“As his eyes grew accustomed to the darkness he discovered that a flock of wild geese had lost their way in the snow storm and landed in the field near his house.

“There were literally hundreds of them. Disorientated, cold and wandering everywhere.

“They were landing heavily like an airplane with failed engines, and many of them crashed against the side of the barn.

“The farmer realized that left out in the cold they would soon perish without any shelter.



“So he opened the doors of one of his barns and hoped that they would go in for the night.

“But no ... they remained out in the cold cackling and walking around in circles rather than seek shelter in the barn.

“He tried to shoo them in by walking behind them with his arms spread out ... but to no avail ... the geese ran everywhere except into the barn.



“He tried to persuade his sheepdog to herd them into the barn. But the dog had better ideas in mind. He raised his back leg to answer a call of nature then ran back into the house.”

The class of students laughed in unison.

“The farmer thought to himself ‘If only I could talk to these birds in their own language and explain to them that the barn will shelter them from the snow ... It’s their only way to salvation from this freezing cold …’

“Then an idea struck him.

“He opened another barn and let out his own geese in the yard. The yard was now full of his flock as well as these Canadian wild geese. All cackling away in the freezing snow.

“After a minute or so he shooed his own geese into the open barns again and to his relief the wild geese followed them to safety.”

The priest stopped to allow the story to sink into their young minds.

“You see … I think God had the same problem with us humans on earth.

“For years He spoke to us through the prophets as Catherine said when she asked her question. But did we listen … of course not. We continued in our sinful way.

“So God sent His only Son to us, as a human, so that we may see Him, hear Him and hopefully listen to Him speaking to us in our own language.

“Some of us have accepted Jesus as the Son of God and have heeded the Word of God, as spoken through Christ our Lord.

“But years later, even now, there are many who are not listening still.

“And that’s what we must remember at Christmas time. It isn’t just about the baby Jesus being born in a stable. It is more important than that. It is about the reality that God Himself visited us here on earth all those years ago.”