Prioritize the Spirit #9
This Sunday’s Gospel narrative tells us,
After John has been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God. “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mk. 1: 14-15)
Jesus then started the call of the first disciples, inviting Simon and Andrew, and then James and John to join him and make them fishers of men.
It’s still barely a week since the Holy Father ended his apostolic visit. We are still reeling from the euphoria and the emotions of his presence. One writer said that the scarcity of real models of “authentic goodness”, made us so emotional in our encounters with the Holy Father, in an attempt to explain the “Pope Francis Effect”. At the present time, everyone’s back in their daily lives and emotions have seemingly died down, if we are to look at updates and writings on Facebook and other social sites. However, it is worth telling that genuine goodness will only be felt, if we live and act the faith insights of the Pope’s visit.Unless we act on the challenges that the Holy Father gave us, we will be inconsistent, unfaithful and irrelevant. We have to act, to preserve the gains of this holy man’s visit, one long weekend in January.
The champion walks with a purpose. He aims for a mission that involves or benefits others. Decidedly.
We can start with some few steps, if I may suggest:
- Pray more. The Holy Father has inspired us to be prayerful amidst the chaos and challenges of life. We knew about the threat to his life and we prayed for protection. We’ve followed him in his itinerary across Manila and up to Tacloban and back. In the midst of the typhoon, we prayed that he arrive safely and be safe from harm. During the Masses that he concelebrated, we can see the quiet meditation of the faithful. Everyone is so immersed in the Masses that we wish it’d never end. He taught us to be prayerful, without even telling us to do so. His example is enough to inspire our fellow countrymen to pray unceasingly. Now let us continue doing this.
- Share more of ourselves. Be more merciful and compassionate with the less fortunate. Pope Francis showed us the way to love and care for the least of our brothers and sisters. He showed us the model of mercy and compassion in how he made everyone feel important. Even knowing this, there is so much work that needs to be done. What’s good is that there are already many organizations up and running and we can simply support these groups to do our share. One good example is the Happy Tummies project of Fr. Armand for the benefit of the poor children in Calauan, Laguna. We can easily sustain the group’s efforts of ensuring that the children there get full meals for six months or even a year. We can get in touch with them and contribute to the fund to sustain the children’s needs.
Practicing charity is the best way to evangelize, Pope Francis said.
- Care for Mother Earth. Climate change remains an important issue, what with stronger typhoons, violent snowstorms in the Midwest, and rising ocean levels. As I write this, a CNN report said that The National Weather Service, which isn’t prone to exaggeration, is using terms like “life-threatening” and “historic” to describe the weather system taking aim at the Northeast in the US— with the worst to expected hit Monday night into Tuesday. Climate change needs to be addressed with a sense of urgency as the effects are readily felt by the poor and the homeless. This is not to mention the devastation that tropical super typhoons have brought into our country.
- Stop corruption. We should be actively involved in eliminating graft and corruption among government officials. We should voice out against stealing in government without fear of reprisal. We should help ensure that honest and good leaders are elected into office. His Eminence Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle challenged us to be in the “peripheries”, to be heroes of the faith. We are called to be brave!
There are lots of things that we can do in order to become instruments of His love. The Pope’s visit is just a catalyst for us to start showing mercy and compassion to others. There are so many beautiful and creative ways of showing God’s love especially to those who are lonely and feel helpless in society. For God so loved that world, that He gave us His only Son, is the Pope visit’s favorite theme, and it’s a summary of what God’s love is all about.
It is therefore providential that the Gospel narrative pointed out that now is the time of fulfillment. We are called to repent and believe in the Gospel. Let us therefore act on this challenge. The saddest thing that can happen is when we allow the “Pope Francis Effect” to just simply vanish into oblivion and watch our fellow countrymen becoming more insensitive towards ourselves and others.
Faith can only be assured when lived and celebrated in community. It dies a natural death when done alone. Imagine yourself trying to understand a verse from the bible without sharing it with anyone. Do you grow in faith without affirmations?