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UP Law prof’s challenge to his students


LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “…Then they asked him, `What must we do to do the works God requires?’ Jesus answered, `The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent’…” (Jesus Christ, our God and Savior, in John 6:28-29, the Holy Bible).

UP LAW PROF’S CHALLENGE TO HIS STUDENTS:Atty. James Gumpal, the professor of my daughter, Maria Luisa, in her third-year College of Law subject of “Medical Jurisprudence” at the University of the Philippines, gifted all of his students, including my daughter, with a short note and a compact disk entitled “Words of Life” as they finished his course with their final exams on March 30, 2014.

More than an extended discussion of his subject, Professor Gumpal’s note actually poses a unique challenge to all UP Law students: find the true meaning and purpose of our very limited life on earth, and not forgetting the social justice commitment “consistent with our UP breeding.”

I understand Gumpal gives out this “gift” to all his students at the end of each semester with him, in an effort to awaken in them, not just the desire to top or pass the bar, but the desire to have a “meaningful journey” in their lives as lawyers. I got interested to share this note and the contents of the CD here in this column today, because their message dovetails with what I have been saying all along as the proper way to train our youth, and, on how lawyers must truly conduct themselves.

WHAT WE BELIEVE IN SHAPES OUR DESTINY: Here is what Professor Gumpal wrote: “To my dear MedJur students: What we really believe in will shape our destiny. We only have a very limited time here on earth and I hope that we do not pass through life without answers to its meaning and purpose. I am sharing to you this CD not as your professor but as a friend.

“It is my prayer that you all pass not only the BAR exam but also the tests that this life gives. Do not forget our social justice commitment consistent with out UP breeding. Le’s all have a meaningful journey! (Signed) J Gumpal 15392.”

Included in the note are the following descriptions of what the CD contains: “Selected Psalms---are poems dealing with various themes: wisdom, praise, forgiveness, Messianic prophecies and the certainty of God’s love, forgiveness and protection. Mostly authored by King David (known and honored in Islam as Nabi Daud or Dawud, an appointed messenger and lawgiver from Allah).

ASSURANCE TO THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN GOD: “Proverbs---mostly authored by Solomon; considered as wisdom literature and helpful as a guide in daily living for all; some references to political leaders; judges and witnesses; Ecclesiastes---an autobiographical account of a King (commonly ascribed to either Solomon or Hezekiah) dealing with the meaning of life, the futility of human pursuit as it all ends in death and the enjoyment of simple pleasures provided by God.

“Thought provoking. Makes a coherent prelude to the testimony of John which gives light to the purpose of life; Testimony of John, the Beloved---an up close and personal eyewitness account on the life of Jesus by one of His three `inner circle’ of friends (Peter, James and John). Especially notable is the lawyer Nicodemus’ nocturnal visit (chapter 3) while John 1:12 and chapter 14 give a definite assurance and comfort to those who believe…

“Also interesting is the incisive and original way Jesus answered the lawyers (teachers of Jewish laws) who were always trying to entrap him with maliciously crafted questions; Paul’s letter to the Romans---written by another lawyer, Paul of Tarsus, employing his knowledge of Roman civil law and contrasting Roman justice based on equity against Divine Justice which is based on grace…”

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