Maintain Balance #8
While “waiting” for super typhoon Ruby, some of our kababayans said over social networks that they feel a sort of “eerie silence”, “something weird”. Indeed I can imagine that. Living in a country in which storms and natural disasters are frequent occurrences, the anxieties associated with these types of uncertainties are bound to be limitless, if not, sometimes bounding on insanity. When the waiting is for something awfully bad, the waiting is not one of eager anticipation, but one of anxiety and worry.
Waiting for the Lord’s coming is something different though. This weekend we’re on the Second Sunday of Advent, when the second candle — called the candle of Bethlehem — is lit. The theme is one of hope, preparing for the Second Coming of Jesus while commemorating His forthcoming birth. Hope, according to the Holy Book, has two meanings: the first, “tiqvah”, is eager anticipation or waiting; the second, “elpis”, is confident expectation based on certainty. Biblical hope is anchored on God’s faithfulness to His promises. God is never short on His promises, in fact He always overdelivers.
During this season, Holy Mother Church exhorts us to prepare ourselves worthily for the Coming of Jesus. We have to cleanse ourselves spiritually, in order to make our hearts fit and ready to receive our Savior. We can achieve this by going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, receiving Our Lord through Holy Communion, being in a state of grace, and doing charitable acts to the least of our brothers and sisters. This is providential, as by this time, the effects of the typhoon will have been felt already. Yahweh God speaks timely through the Prophet Isaiah “Comfort, give comfort to my people!” (Is. 40: 1). The order is being given for us to give and share what we have to the poor and the needy.
For us, Advent is a reminder of the real reason for Christ’s coming: Emmanuel, God is with us! Meaning He came to be with us, to hear our sorrows, to console, to guide and strengthen us in our trials and challenges. Jesus said in the Gospel, “Without cost you have received, without cost you are to give” (Mt. 10: 8). Thus, as Christ’s disciples, we are tasked to share, give and offer what we can to others. Aside from sharing, St. John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. This event was foretold by the Prophet Isaiah,
“A voice cries out: in the desert prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!” (Is. 40: 3).
Advent calls us to reflect on the Lord’s birth. Let us consider the gift of God’s love more priceless than products: giving of one’s self, the practice of being present to our God, to our families and to whom the Lord will allow us to meet. God loves us like there’s no one else left in this world to love. Such great love! Surely the best way to prepare for Jesus birth is to share ourselves with others, that we may be able to reflect Jesus love for them through us! As authentic and true Christians, let us then not take Christ out of Christmas!
Each of us is a part of a human community empowered to take care for and heal the earth. That is not a career job that you choose; it is a fact. Period. (Fr. A)
It takes discipline to attend to what is important and not what we feel like doing. Start to develop intellectual honesty if you haven’t yet. Give orders to yourself, it defines what is important and what can be set aside to a later time. Practice it and you will soon see that it covers all the areas in your life at an easy space.
I am very thankful i was able to attend this kind of seminar. The topic was very clear, the message was precisely passed on to us. The way it was presented was very simple yet was able to cover a lot. This was very helpful. Thank you again Fr. Armand.
Jonathan Florino, Military Ordinarnate Commission on Youth
Parish Youth Minsters are the next batch of Champions! Last November 8, 2014, Youth Ministers from different parishes in coordination with the Episcopal Commission on Youth gathered to find out the secrets of the Code of Champions. At the end of the day they are in unison in chanting, “Kay HesuKristo po. Champion po”.
My siblings and I studied away from our hometown and so every time Christmas comes, my Dad and Mom would always tell us then that they’re already preparing our home and our rooms for our coming. They’d ensure that every nook and corner of the house is cleaned, the grass in the lawn is trimmed, and all sorts of food prepared. It’s always exciting to come home during the holidays, and being with our own families now, homecoming is still always being looked forward to.
Waiting could be a mix of emotions; it can be interesting but it could be also be a restless experience watching,
- for the coming of the newborn baby
- for the arrival of family members coming to visit us
- for the release of examination results
- for the departure and arrival of the plane
- for the recovery of sickness
- for the coming home of a lover
Henry van Dyke captured it saying, “Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.”
Like our families who wait when we go home, thus we should be in constant state of preparation for the coming of the Lord. This wait should be characterized by an intense desire for the coming of the Savior, even though we’re aware of our brokenness. It shouldn’t be a lazy wait, or something that makes us decay and eventually die. This waiting should be active and creative, even transformative. Being active means continuing engagement with the Spirit, for us to be continuously discerning His will. We should be involved in our Church activities, because as Champions, we should be waiting with an expectant faith. A faith that translates our love and obedience to the Father by sharing our time, talent and treasure. Something that transforms us into radiating His soon-to-be-revealed Glory. One SMS I received today aptly captured this thought,
“…when God blesses you financially, don’t raise your standard of living. Raise your standard of giving.”
Reminding us of the coming of Jesus, this Sunday the Church celebrated the First Sunday of Advent. While we await His coming, our Lord has advised us:
“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise” (Lk. 21:34).
Within these, God has given us this wonderful world that feeds us throughout the year, the Bible to instruct us, the Sacraments to nourish and heal us, the Holy Spirit to guide us, Mama Mary to love and pray for us, and a constant river of Grace to refresh us (Rv. 22: 1-2). Yes, the Lord equips us to fight the enemy. In His generosity and compassion for the sinner, the Lord has given the community enough resources, both material and psychological, that it may fulfill its destiny, which resources we put at the disposal of the leader. (The Code of Champions)
May we always respond with love and gratitude in all our ways as we wait for Christ our King to return and take us to our Heavenly Home to live with Him, the angels and the saints, forever and until eternity.
Champions commit to do their best. There is no other way.
To cultivate one’s passion is not easy.The task can both be challenging and demanding. It demands great energies during the pursuit. Defining the reasons and sustaining them might just be the key to commit to your passions.