Saturday, October 16, 2021

Faith is the Key

“...the promise made to Abraham and his descendants that they would inherit the world...” Romans 4:13




There are many treasures in the Bible, and many keys to unlock those treasures. “Inherit the world”? What can that mean if I can’t even pay my electricity, or find a better job? 


God promised to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants, but according to verse 13, it’s not based on obedience to the law, but through the righteousness that comes from faith. Abraham is our example as a believer, and he is intensely alive today. More than 3 billion people, Christians, Muslims and Jews, venerate him. He is our spiritual father, our patriarch. 


In verse 16-17, Saint Paul writes that faith is the key! God’s promise is given to us as a free gift if we have faith like our father Abraham. Abraham believed in a God who brings the dead to life, and who calls into being what does not exist. That is the secret to faith. If God says it, we believe it and we can receive it.  The key is finding a verse in the Bible we can claim, believe and receive. We, like Abraham, should be absolutely convinced that God is able to do anything He promised! 

Friday, October 15, 2021

Precious

 "Even the hairs of your head are counted!" Luke 12:7




How precious are we to God? So precious He knows how many strands of hair there are on our head. Now I do not know why He needs to know that, but that's what it says in the Bible! If He knows that, then He also keeps track of what we are doing every minute, every second of the day. In Jeremiah 29:11 it says that God has a plan for each of us, not just a mediocre plan, but a really excellent one. So it would be great to get to know what that plan is, to work with God, to make it come true.


Nick Vujicic was born with the tetra-amelia syndrome. He does not have arms. He does not have legs. But he goes around the world preaching to millions of people. One time, he had a short meeting with the President of Ecuador. A few days after that, the President had to consider a law that would allow abortion of disabled fetuses. He vetoed it because he said Ecuador needed more Nick Vujicics! We may not have as big a challenge as Nick, but certainly we have as important a role to play in God's plan for the world!

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Saint Ignatius of Antioch

“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice!” Psalm 130:1b




Where did Saint Ignatius of Antioch get his courage? He wrote, “Permit me to imitate my suffering God...I am God’s wheat and I shall be ground by the teeth of beasts, that I may become the pure bread of Christ.” 


We will celebrate his feast day in a few days, and I am in awe that a simple man like him born in obscurity would desire to be a martyr. When he was Bishop of Antioch in Syria, he was arrested. He refused adamantly to worship idols and was sentenced to die in the Roman Coliseum. On the journey to Rome, Saint Ignatius was chained, but he was allowed to visit Christian communities along the way. Christians accompanied him from town to town for he was a well known figure.


He wrote in one of his letters that if the animals in the arena were not hungry, he would prod them to eat him and he urged his fellow Christians not to prevent his martyrdom. We may think that this is impossible today, but there are many martyrs in many persecuted areas of the world, people of God who die in the obscurity of the world. When they arrive in heaven, I am sure they are greeted with another arena of welcomers, a cloud of witnesses! 


Image is of a fresco of the Saint in Hosios Loukas Monastery, Boeotia, Greece.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Rock and Salvation

"He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed at all." Psalm 62:6




I shall never be shaken. I shall not be moved or upended. God is my refuge, my fortress, my high tower. God has spoken plainly and we have heard and read it many times. We can depend on Him. He is our shelter and He has unfailing love for us. Why then do we doubt, why the anxiety, why the worry? 


When I am anxious, I consciously turn my anxiety into prayer. Whatever it is that makes me worry or afraid, I lift up to God. In all my life, I have not experienced this level of confusion with regards to how people think about our president and what he is allowing to happen in our country. Along with many filipinos, I believe he is going about solving the problems of our country in the wrong way. I see the blatant disregard for truth, justice, and human life. I am horrified with how much of our hard earned taxes has been stolen and wasted. So it surprises me and saddens me how so many can support him wholeheartedly. 

 

I believe that this is a time of testing and trial for all people of goodwill. What does the enemy want? He wants to destroy our country. He wants to bring us down but I believe all of this will only bring us down to our knees. 


Lord, You are faithful. I will not be disturbed for I know You sit on Your throne. "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!


“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims His handiwork.” Psalm 19:2




There is no doubt that the Rolex or Patek Philippe watches were created by great designers, engineers, and master craftsmen. No way can the intricacy of those watches be put together by flinging the parts on the ground or putting it inside a shaker and shaking it around. In the same way, the teleological argument or the “argument from design” states that we know God exists because we observe that the magnificence of space, the beauty of the flowers, the amazing wonders of the varied animals and even our human body, cannot have been put together by luck. There is an intelligent, and to me, caring, intelligence behind it. 


Just take our skin. I find it amazing that I paint, and glue, I clean and rub dirty things, and I can wash it off and my skin is as good as new! My fingers are awesome! Can you imagine if we didn’t have our thumbs? Or lacked one joint in our fingers? If we go through the human body, one part at a time, our hair, eyelashes, nails, nose hair, lids, the list goes on and on and on, we will just marvel at the care and love our Master Potter lavished on us when He made us from mud and dirt.  And that’s just man! There are more than one million species of insects in the world according to the Royal Entomological Society! I can imagine God crazily putting together the most outrageous colors and shapes and configurations one after the other! I don’t think He’s finished enjoying Himself yet because 15-18,000 new species of animals are discovered every year! I cannot put enough exclamation points when I think about the amazing plumage of birds, the awesome colors of fish, and the pictures we see from outer space!!! Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

 

Father, may I never ever take Your love for granted. You gave us a beautiful, awesome world! May we slow down, appreciate Your creation, breathe in Your goodness and be filled with gratitude always! 

Monday, October 11, 2021

Called to be Holy

"...set apart...called to belong to Jesus Christ...called to be holy..." Romans 1:1-7




Sometimes this scares me...that I am called to be holy, to be set apart...to be different. But what does this mean really? It just means that our Father wants us to be like Him. Not to be like the world, not to be filled with the world's ideas and values. 


God wants us to be His special people, to reflect His character to a dying and often times depraved world.


Isn't it but natural that a father wants the very very best for His sons and daughters?

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Eye of the Needle

 "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!" Mark 10:25




This is just such a hard story to understand. On the one hand you see Jesus looking at this rich young man lovingly. Then right after, condemning him to a life of eternal damnation just because he would not sell all he had and give the money to the poor. How many of us would be able to do that at the drop of a hat?  Not many, I'm pretty sure of that! I was thinking if only that man stayed and listened. If only that young man followed Jesus, walked with Him! He would have heard Jesus' teachings, and little by little, he would have desired to do what Jesus wanted him to do.  


Jesus said to His disciples, "Everything is possible with God."  We shouldn't give up on ourselves just because we can't follow Jesus perfectly! Just because we can't give up everything and go to the ends of the earth and spread the Gospel. Just because we get impatient with little things and are ungrateful or cannot really forgive.  Jesus already paid the price for our salvation.  He said, “It is finished.” We just need to follow Him day after day, step-by-step-by-step, and we will change slowly but surely.  


St. Paul wrote to the Philippians: "And I am certain that God who began the good work within you will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns."

Saturday, October 09, 2021

Living Bibles

"Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and observe it." Luke 11:28




Blessed, filled with grace, possessing the good things God has promised, to whom?


To those who hear the Word of God. NOT only to those who read, but who HEAR. Faith after all, comes from HEARING, from listening to the Word of God. (Romans 10:17)


While I was painting, I sang this verse over and over, so as to hear it, remember it, embed it in my heart.


To be blessed with God's good things, we not only need to hear His Word, His promises, His instructions, we also have to observe it, obey it, follow it.


What good are instructions if it goes into one ear and out the other?!!!! Faith without good works is dead faith!

(James 2:17)


I was listening to Rick Warren and he said the aim of reading God's Word is to become

living bibles!!! Would you like to be a living bible? To be like one of Jesus' followers,

walking in His footsteps- following the living way, not a dead way with Pharisaic archaic rules, but following what Jesus taught? It's the only way to be blessed!!! Thank You Father for Your Word, which is our key to heaven’s treasure chest. 

Friday, October 08, 2021

Finger of God

“by the finger of God..." Luke 11:20




In the 11th chapter of Luke, Jesus casts out a spirit from a man who could not speak, and He said, "But if it is by the FINGER OF GOD that I cast out devils, then the reign of God is upon you."


That's bad news for people who don't believe in Jesus, who think He is a fictional character, or even just a prophet.


The first time this phrase appears in the Hebrew Bible is in the Book of Exodus, chapter 8, verse 19, when the magicians of Pharaoh, impressed by the miracle where all the dust of Egypt turned into lice, proclaimed, "This is the FINGER OF GOD." The second time is in Exodus 31:18: "As the Lord finished speaking with Moses on Mt. Sinai, He gave him two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the Covenant, written by the FINGER OF GOD." The third and last time the phrase appears in the Hebrew Bible, Moses says in Deuteronomy 9:10, "The Lord gave me two stone tablets inscribed by the FINGER OF GOD."


This is just one of the many things Jesus said that proves He is claiming to be God, I think. Although many listened to Him and believed, many more rejected Him and His teachings. The Pharisees and teachers of religious law were furious with Him and hostile, such that they were always looking for ways to trap Him with their questions.


How about us? Do we believe that Jesus is God, that we want to listen to Him and obey? Or are we looking for proof that He is not God, so we do not have to take heed of His Words and change the way we live?


Lord, may I allow You to write Your Words in my heart and free me from all the ideas that do not come from You!

Thursday, October 07, 2021

Keep Knocking

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Luke 11:9




After the disciples asked the Lord to teach them to pray, He gave them the example of the Lord’s Prayer. He then asked them to imagine that they went to a friend at midnight to borrow three loaves of bread to feed a friend who arrived from a long journey. The one inside responds, “Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ Jesus assures, “Even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.”


From this passage, we learn that we can keep knocking on our Father’s door, and not give up. “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”


We may think, we have been praying and knocking for months and months now that God save us from this pandemic. We are now in the bottom rung in the world in how we have responded to this worldwide crisis. There are 2,613,070 people in our country who have caught this virus, and 38,828 who have died. What is God doing? Is He turning a deaf ear to our cries? But God has not promised that we will have it easy in this world. Jesus Himself said in John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation and trouble and hardship. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” 

 

The most important thing for God is we will join His family, and get to heaven someday. God gave us a beautiful world and gave us His laws in order to take care of it, but man wanted to do his own thing, and make his own way. Man rejected God’s ways. We chose abortion because we want to have freedom from the responsibility of our actions. We chose to be governed by men with no conscience instead of righteous men. We did not take care of our environment and instead put fake sand to prettify a dirty beach. 


We will find that God has used the mess we have made of things, the destruction we have caused to families, to our church, our country, to bring us closer to Him. He is the grand weaver, and although now, we see an ugly tapestry, one day we will see the beautiful design He has made using the mismatched colors and tangled threads our hands have given Him. 


“Do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Our Father

“This is how you are to pray: Our Father who art in heaven...” Luke 11:2




Jesus told his disciples that they should not babble like the pagans when they pray. I suppose it is like when we have a good, close friend. We do not need many words when we talk to them. They already know what we are thinking and feeling. We can be in silent companionship with them and they know when we are sad and when we are happy. So too with our God. “Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8). 


The prayer Jesus taught was revolutionary. He tells us that we do not have a cosmic, distant God, but a personal, easy to reach “ABBA” father. We are not orphans but dearly loved children who are made in His image and likeness. But He tells us that God is not only our Father, but Father of ALL. He does not exclude anyone. 

Sometimes we Filipinos can be too regionalistic. We help a person or vote for a person because he is from our province for instance. Never mind if he is undeserving or even corrupt. But when we pray the “Our Father”, we see that God means us to be part of the “same region”, the “same tribe”. We should treat all with kindness and consideration because we are all brothers and sisters loved by the same God. 

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Call Loudly to God

“Call loudly to God..." Jonah 3:8




The story of the prophet Jonah for all its humor holds a very serious truth and lesson for all of us.  We Christians sometimes have a holier than thou attitude and have a tendency to think we know how God thinks.  Or perhaps we wonder why God is not punishing this or that person for his sin. Jonah was asked by God to preach against the great city Nineveh for their wickedness offended Him. Instead of setting off for Nineveh, Jonah took a ship to escape his divine commission, got caught in a storm, and was swallowed by a huge fish when he was thrown off the boat by terrified mariners. God commanded Jonah again to preach to the Ninevites so they will repent, and finally Jonah obeyed. He walked through this great city for three days, announcing, "Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed."


What impressed me here was the King of Nineveh. He believed that Jonah's words came from God and he repented. He covered himself in sackcloth and sat in ashes. Then he proclaimed that the whole city go into a fast, cover themselves in sackcloth and call loudly to God. "Every man shall turn from his evil ways and from violence," the King announced. 


With the elections approaching, I cannot help but think that we should elect leaders who know how to be humble and accept God's correction. We should have a President who can lead us to turn away from corruption and greed, and selfishness. Just like God did not carry out the threatened destruction of the Ninevites, He will show his face of mercy towards us.  Lord, raise up men and women to lead our country on the path to righteousness. We need leaders who will listen to You and follow Your laws. We call out loudly to You O Lord, give us wisdom to choose rightly!

Monday, October 04, 2021

Who is My Neighbor?

"Who is my neighbor?' Luke 10:29




I don't know how many times I have read or heard the story of the Good Samaritan,  and even seen it re-enacted in a play. When it comes up as a reading, I tend to gloss over it as I know the details so well. If we read it carefully, we will find that the story is applicable to every day life in so many ways.


It doesn't have to be a man lying on the road on our way to work or school or the mall. I'm thinking it can be our Facebook friend who is burdened with so many problems, a sick friend in need of some food delivery or book, a brother or sister from church fighting his own demons, or how about the poor who have lost their jobs in this pandemic? There are so many initiatives we can help to feed them. 


The Samaritan traveler was "moved with compassion" and approached the "victim",  poured "oil and wine" over his wounds. OIL and WINE. 


Oil is the symbol of the Holy Spirit, and we usually apply oil when we pray for healing.  How wonderful that this man had oil with him! He was just like the wise virgins in the story in Matthew 25! He was always prepared, always ready! This time it was to offer aid and comfort. But other times he would be ready with his oil to do what God wanted him to do. He can say like Jesus, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has ANOINTED me to preach the gospel, to HEAL the brokenhearted..."


Wine in the Bible is a necessity because of the scarcity of water, so it symbolizes sustenance and life and God's blessings. How wonderful that this Samaritan was  willing to share out of his need, not his excess.


Lord, I know I fall short in so many ways. But I pray that like the Samaritan traveler, I will be ever ready to help those in need with the oil and wine You have blessed me with in my life! 


Sunday, October 03, 2021

This One at Last

“This one at last is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh." Genesis 2:23




After saying that everything was good in the first chapter of Genesis, God says it is NOT good for the man He created, to be alone. "I will make a helper suitable for him" (Gen. 2:18,20) A study of the Hebrew words for suitable helper yields the meaning "an equal and perfect counterpart". Eve is by no means inferior in standing to Adam.


There is a joke that God told Adam He would provide a partner for him, perfect in every way. Adam then asked what would it take for him to have this perfect partner. God answered, "An arm and a leg." "OK", Adam asked next, "What can I get for a rib?" And the rest is history!!!


Most of the time, relationships are far from perfect because we are not perfect. And marriage between an imperfect man and an imperfect woman is one of the most "efficient" ways God uses to "perfect" us. Couples are like sandpaper to each other. Sounds painful, but if we are committed to God and to each other, if we do not give up, and forgive time and again, we will eventually get our rough edges smooth!


Marriage is a reflection of the covenant of love that God desires with us. He is the “husband” of the Church, His beloved bride. Even if we are unfaithful, and play the harlot forsaking Him, He will never abandon us, never forsake us, never divorce us. If we’ve ever read the Book of Hosea in the Bible, we will see just how absurdly in love God is with us, His people. God wants to have a loving relationship with each one of us, and He will do anything, even to giving His very life, to bring it about. 




Saturday, October 02, 2021

Humility the Mother of All Virtues

“Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.” 

Matthew 18:4




Everybody wants to be “somebody”. No one grows up desiring to be a “nobody”, or almost no one. Mother Teresa said she was just a little pencil in the hands of God. “He does the thinking. He does the writing. He does everything and sometimes it is really hard because it is a broken pencil and He has to sharpen it a little more.” She also said she was a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, and He was sending a love letter to the world. God was able to use this little pencil to bring love to so many sick, desperate people not only in India, but to 139 countries around the world. I cannot imagine how this funny looking little nun was able to found 760 homes, including orphanages, centers for the dying, for refugees, for the aged, the blind, alcoholics, street children, and even one 

for lepers in India. 


I believe it was because this saintly nun was humble which was why God was able to use her. She wrote, “Humility is the mother of all virtues; purity, charity and obedience. It is in being humble that our love becomes real, devoted and ardent. If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are. If you are blamed you will not be discouraged. If they call you a saint you will not put yourself on a pedestal.” She just trudged on with her work, knowing it was really God moving the strings. 


While she headed the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa kept this list of ways to cultivate humility for the sisters:

  1. Speak as little as possible about yourself.
  2. Keep busy with your own affairs and not those of others.
  3. Avoid curiosity (she is referring to wanting to know things that should not concern you.)
  4. Do not interfere in the affairs of others.
  5.  Accept small irritations with good humor.
  6.  Do not dwell on the faults of others.
  7. Accept censures even if unmerited.
  8. Give in to the will of others.
  9. Accept insults and injuries.
  10. Accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded.
  11. Be courteous and delicate even when provoked by someone.
  12. Do not seek to be admired and loved.
  13. Do not protect yourself behind your own dignity.
  14. Give in, in discussions, even when you are right.
  15. Choose always the more difficult task.


Humility is difficult in the me generation where thousands of selfies are uploaded in Facebook and Instagram every minute. “Google reported that its Android devices take 93 million selfies per day, (and that’s just Android!). In one poll, 18-to-24-year-olds reported that every third photo they take is a selfie. 


We are told in different ways, “Just be yourself”, “Pursue happiness”, and we forget that selfishness produces apathy towards others and is bad for our own mental and emotional health. That is one of the reasons we have a broken world. We need more humility, a willingness to see others and a readiness to sacrifice for others, because those “others” are us. Jesus prayed, “May they be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us...”

 (John 17:2)

Friday, October 01, 2021

St. Therese and The Little Way

“Remember not against us the iniquities of the past; may your compassion quickly come to us, for we are brought very low.” Psalm 79:8




"The good news is that God has made provision for our waywardness. He has given us the great gift of repentance.” I took note of this from the meditation booklet, “The Word Among Us”. I don't know why, but I like the word “waywardness". Somehow it does not sound so bad! But the truth of the matter is that sin is sin, whether it is serious or not. Mostly because small sins lead to big sins. Take David’s idleness which led him to murder the husband of the woman he lusted after. Then there's Saul, whose impatience progressed to rebellion against God! 


It is good to look at our ways honestly and see if there are little sins (sometimes we don't even  consider them as sins!) like telling white lies, unkindness, inconsideration, Un mindfulness, impatience, lack of generosity, etc., and then repent and try to do better.


Today is the Feast Day of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church. We visited her comfortable home, Les Buissonnets, in Lisieux several years ago during a pilgrimage. Her life became more vivid to me as I stared at her bed where she lay sick of a mysterious illness when she was just 10 years old. My impression of Saint Thérèse was that she was quite spoiled, as she got into temper tantrums frequently and even unreasonableness, but she entered the Carmelite Convent at the age of 15. While there, she confessed that she had a difficult nature and always struggled with even the small things. Through God’s grace, she shared with the Church her “Little Way”, the “the way of spiritual childhood, the way of trust and absolute surrender” and humility before God. She had learned to offer to God even her mundane chores like folding napkins, and doing it with great love for Him. Indeed, we may be brought very low when we think of our many sins. But when we repent, God’s compassion can lift us up the same way He did with Saint Thérèse.


Thursday, September 30, 2021

Work for the Lord!

"The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few..." Luke 10:2




We used to sell a figurine in our shops with the words, “Work for the Lord— the pay isn't much but the retirement plan is out of this world." My sister overheard a lady tell her child, “I gave this to your dad and it changed his life." Apparently the father had been a workaholic and the family hardly saw him. After he received the figurine, he devoted more time to his family and to God. My sister thought that it was amazing that one figurine with a truthful message could change somebody’s life. After all, we had SO MANY inspirational figurines, posters, and assorted merchandise! It was awesome to think that many people were encouraged, and motivated when they came to visit our branches. 


Yes the harvest is abundant, and many more "laborers" are needed. God uses many ways to bring in the harvest. We may say we don't have the gifts necessary, but Jesus' apostles were the most unlikely bunch. He chose them not for what they were but for what He could make of them! At the start, they usually wanted to send the crowds away. They thought children were a nuisance. Jesus had to teach them for 3 years, and even that was not enough. He had to die so He could send a helper, the Holy Spirit, so they could become brave, wise and willing to give up their lives to be “laborers in the vineyard", and “fishers of men".


There is a book written in 1773 by a then 22 year old Tom Boston with a funny name, “The Art of Man Fishing". He wrote that the net of the gospel is woven from the PROMISES of the gospel. I think if we want to be effective fishers of men, we need to know the promises of the gospel, we need to believe and claim the promises, so that we can tell others with conviction that all Jesus said is true!


Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Angels Watching Over Me

Today, September 29 is the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels. Many people love angel stories, and many more are rather skeptical. 




I believe that there are many things happening in the spiritual realm more real than what we see with our eyes. That is why we should not despair, and only trust and believe in what God is doing on our behalf. After my open heart surgery in December 2019, my sister prodded her husband to share what happened when he was praying for me during my procedure. He was very reluctant, saying repeatedly, “I’m not an angel person.” Then he narrated that while he was praying for me, he saw several large angels surrounding me during my operation. “Then I cried,” he said, embarrassed, “and I’m not a crying person either!” After that, he knew I was going to be all right. 


I cried too when he told me. Imagine, God sending angels to watch over me! We don’t really know but what if that is the ordinary run of events? If we pray that God will send His angels to watch over our children, our spouses, our homes and schools, our country, will He not do it? It may seem old fashioned to believe in benevolent beings taking care of us but the scriptural foundation is what Jesus said in Matthew 18:10, that each one of us has an angel. The pillars of the early Church believed in angels. St. Basil of Caesarea, a fourth century theologian wrote, “Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him or her to life”. 


We commemorate this feast because we desire to celebrate God’s wonderful and faithful protection and providence. Many times we are unaware of our angels’ intervention, but there are many stories about how someone is saved by one who cannot be traced. 


I remember one story that came out in the news about a serious car accident involving a young girl. She could not be extracted from the wreck at first until a man who was dressed as a priest appeared and prayed over her and told the crew afterwards that they could now extricate her. They were able to, but when they looked for the man, he was nowhere to be found. He also did not appear in any of the pictures although many people saw him. The news agencies tried to trace him, calling up parishes, but they were unsuccessful.


Father, thank You that You command Your angels to guard us in all our ways. (Psalm 91:11)




Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Leave your Crown Outside

“Lord, should we order down fire from heaven to burn them up?" Luke 9:54




Wasn't this presumptuous of James and John that they could actually order a holocaust to destroy the Samaritan village which ignored Jesus? Jesus rebuked them for their audacity. 


I wonder how many times we wished we could call down fire from heaven to destroy people who have insulted us, made us angry, or on a bigger scale, are unfit to hold public office? But what did Jesus do? He reprimanded them and set off for another town. How many of us, if we had absolute power would be able to walk away from using it against our enemies and detractors? We read of dictators and despots who actually get mad from the "hubris syndrome" of power. 


In Deuteronomy 28, we find many curses against those who do not obey God and insist on doing things their own way: madness, defeat, failure, confusion. "You will become a thing of horror to all." (verse 27) 


Humility, kindness, gentleness. We lose these if we are not careful. The day PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi received news that she was appointed to the company's board, she arrived home bursting with the 'huge' news. Her mother asked her whether she could go out and buy some milk before she told her "great news". Fuming, Nooyi got the milk, and when she returned, her mother reminded her, "Leave your crown out in the garage." 


We do need an imaginary crown, but only to remind us of how loved we are, how unique and precious we are to God. We are His sons and daughters, and that is why we need to learn how to be like His only begotten Son, who puts others first, who was an obedient servant first and foremost. 




Monday, September 27, 2021

Who is Greatest?


“For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.” Luke 9:48




St. Vincent de Paul, whose Feast Day we celebrate today, said, “You will find that charity is a heavy burden to carry, heavier than the bowl of soup and the full basket ... It is not enough to give us soup and bread ... You are the servant of the poor ... They are your masters, terribly sensitive and exacting you will see. It is only for your love alone that the poor will forgive you the bread you give them.”




St. Vincent dedicated his life to serving the forgotten ones, the “lost, the least and the last”. When Taal Volcano was acting up last year, many people gave clothes, shoes, and other things. It was so sad because some of the things donated were very old, and could not be used anymore. And winter clothes and snow boots were useless to the refugees. 




Mother Teresa always said do not give our left overs to the poor, that we should not treat the poor like a garbage bag and give what we have no use for. We should be ashamed of ourselves if we gave Jesus, the King of Kings, an old rag to clothe Himself! After all, Jesus said that what we do for the least of our brothers, we do for him. (Matthew 25:40)




How wonderful that there is a record of Jesus’ instructions and stories that we can read and read again. If we want to obey God, to learn about Him and His ways, we can do nothing better than to ponder His words and follow them. I know some brothers and sisters who have been reading the Bible and obeying. They are regularly feeding the homeless along Macapagal Avenue since December 2020. It is no easy task during this pandemic as they have to observe all the health protocols. Most of these street dwellers used to have regular jobs and places to stay. Because so many businesses have closed down, they are now just sleeping on the pavements or outside buildings. For just P1,200.00 we can feed someone one hot meal a day for a month. Will we give the King of Kings a meal at least?