Walking With The Lord

The Gospel readings of the past week centered on the Lord’s discourse on the Bread of Life. Thoughts and reflections on this is something very deep and meaningful. The scenes bring to mind people who are in need of food and drink. On a deeper level, however, the imagery must be taken in the context of the Easter Season. Jesus is risen and His message is quick to warn us “you are not looking for me because you have seen signs, but because you have eaten your fill of the loaves. You should not be working for perishable food, but for food that remains to life eternal, food which the Son of Man will give you; it is on him that God the Father has set His seal.” (Jn. 6: 26-27)

Early in our faith experience, we came to Mass mostly to ask the Lord for a new job, a girlfriend (or boyfriend), a new house or car, a gadget, or even solutions to our problems, etc.  Those were times when we asked the Lord for favors, requests, and petitions of whatever we could think about. This actually went on and on. However, as we come to maturity in our journey with the Lord, it should stop being about the “material” bread; it should already be about being into the bread that endures, the Bread of Life. Jesus exhorted us “I myself am the bread of life. No one who comes to me shall ever be hungry, no one who believes in me shall ever thirst” (Jn. 6: 35).  This means that at some point, even how difficult it is at times, we learn to embrace our cross, rather than carry it, as it may just result in us feeling it “too heavy a burden to carry”. Embracing our cross will make our life journey more meaningful and enduring till the end. Embracing the cross means submission to Christ and enduring the pains and sufferings, fully content with the thought that all the while, the Lord is walking with us, is journeying with us, and therefore sharing our difficulties. How sweet it would be then, when we have reached that point, when we’d be attending Mass, not because we’re asking for favors from God, but because we’re already at that level where, it is because we love the Lord, because we want to be intimate with Him.

This is the message of Easter! As St. John Paul II captured it beautifully, “This is the wonderful truth, my dear friends: the Word, which became flesh two thousand years ago, is present today in the Eucharist.

Among the sacraments, there are those which we can only have once, like Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, or Holy Orders, while there are those which can be repeated many times like Reconciliation. The Anointing of the Sick may also be done a few times, depending on the circumstances. Unlike the rest though, it is the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist which can be repeated more often, even on a daily basis!

Imagine that? Daily! Did you notice the symbolism this brings? This means, that when we join in the celebration of the Holy Mass (and thus the Holy Eucharist), we allow the Lord to nurture us, to make us grow in faith. St. John Bosco said, “Do you want the Lord to give you many graces? Visit Him often. Do you want Him to give you few graces? Visit Him rarely.

We celebrate God’s presence, we stay in the presence of God.

Catch the Crystal Balls

A happy person acknowledges that all things need to be attended to at the appropriate time. Focusing on what is important requires discipline of not letting your feelings propel you to action without proper discernment.  Which of your concerns are the crystal balls in your life right now? First things first–attend to what is important and valuable.

Life finds Meaning

Were not our hearts burning inside us as he talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us? ”   (Lk. 24:32)

My first memory of the road to Emmaus story was in my childhood years, when I was serving the 6 am Mass in St. Andrew the Apostle Parish, in my hometown in Amlan, Negros Oriental. In this Gospel story, we are told of the two disciples travelling to Emmaus and didn’t realize the man who joined them was Jesus. After the breaking of the bread, he disappeared and upon realizing it was the Lord, the disciples’ reaction was about remembering feeling their “hearts burning inside”! This is another of those stories about the disciples failing to recognize Jesus!

This past week was special, in the sense that our beloved San Miguel Chaplain, Fr. Armand Robleza, SDB, celebrated his birthday. Homilies were so beautiful, because it spoke of themes about life, about meaning, about purpose. One of his stories shared was about the Hebrews’ ancient beliefs of God, living in the majestic mountain, above the clouds. Of a place called “Sheol”, the “netherworld”, the place in the bowels of the earth, a place where they believed the dead to be congregated. Jacob refusing to be comforted at the supposed death of Joseph exclaims, “I will go down mourning to my son in the netherworld.” (Gen. 37:35) Reading the origins of this concept of Sheol made my hair stood on end! Imagine that place they say, “where souls go after dying?” Yet, with the Risen Jesus, we are hopeful that He will deliver us to our eternal home. We take refuge in the thought that with the Lord, we shouldn’t fear what happens. Life finds meaning as an effect. We realize that all the while, with life’s ups and downs, the Lord is journeying with us. Only that we didn’t recognize Him, just like the two disciples, or the others who didn’t. While early in life we are excited, later on once we realize whatever our purpose is, we become composed and quiet, knowing that we are journeying with God. The company of the Divine helps remove all fears in our hearts. It’s not how much we’ve accomplished, but how much we have loved.

Champions sense the presence of the Divine around which he organizes his life. He never walks alone. He feels his heart burning inside. And he knows it, he knows why.

 

Itch For Excellence

Have you been brave enough to ask: Why am I here? Our quest for our mission in life is always a daily process of honing oneself. Do not think this is a task you can achieve by your lonesome. People around you whether directly or indirectly will help you accomplish your mission. Be insightful and the process will be easier along the way. For all you know, the people in your life right now are the same people who will shape you to acquire the excellence you will need in order to fulfill your mission.