God’s faithfulness, Man’s fickleness

How fast time flies! Christmas was just a few moons ago, but look we’re now in the Lenten Season, starting Ash Wednesday and will end on Holy Thursday before the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Lent is characterized by sorrow and penance for our past sins, works of mercy, and preparation for the renewal of our baptismal promises on the Easter Vigil.

If we look at the entire point of Lent, it is really about a window of opportunity of restoring our relationship with the Lord. A relationship that has gone sour due to sin and wrongdoing. In the first reading, God cleansed the world from evil through the great flood in the time of Noah, and gave rise to a new beginning: God made a covenant with Noah and all his descendants. The second reading talks about the flood and how it relates to Baptism – the life-saving water.

From the time of Adam up to the present, God has been relentless in calling and forgiving us whenever we go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. While man continues to fall into sin, God has continually sent prophets over the centuries to speak to him, and finally sent His only Son to redeem us all from the darkness of sin. It is about our God’s faithfulness, and man’s betrayal of God’s undying love and mercy. Despite man’s fickleness, God has been and always loving us unconditionally, even at the price of Jesus’ saving death on the cross.

In the Gospel, Jesus resisted and defeated evil in the desert and throughout His life. In our case, there comes a time when we are asked to make a stand and thus strengthen our faith. We are asked by Jesus to take up our cross daily and follow Him. This is an invitation that not too many people find appealing. In this materialistic world, people view success as earning more money and accumulating wealth, in order to live a comfortable life. This is what is being sold in media by advertisements. We only have to see the billboards in EDSA to validate this assertion. We know that when we forego with the comforts that we have gained, we struggle and find it difficult. Yet, when we do it, we find a sense of meaning such that we gain an inner joy in life. It’s quite a paradox that in order to get, we have to give, and in order to be more joyful, we need to experience pain and suffering. This is because the more we deny ourselves, the more we find essence and meaning.

In this Holy Season of Lent, Jesus is inviting us to believe in something greater than this temporal world. He wants us to see our hearts in order for us to feel our innermost longings for an intimate relationship with God. If we submit to Him, He will lead us to on the right path to eternal joy.

Champion, how is your desert journey been so far?

Champspeak

The seminar was very timely and eye-opening session. It can be applied to all situations even sometimes you don’t realize it.  Especially the part where you can be happy and inspire others. Our company should do more of these seminars to inspire  us in our workplace.

Michelle Rosario, Buensalido PR

 

Everyone is Welcome, Nobody to be Excluded

Last week the world celebrated Valentine’s. Days leading into it, we were bombarded with advertisements pushing for the different commercial events scheduled to happen. All sorts of gifts are being peddled: musicals, concerts, flowers, teddy bears, chocolates, and everything. But is there something more than the world’s version of Valentine’s Day?

In the first reading, the Jews defined the lepers as unclean and must live away from everyone in the community. In the Gospel, we were told that Jesus freed a leper from sickness and made him clean.

In perspective, while being unclean, leprosy also symbolizes sinfulness, which by nature separates us from the love of God. Due to sin, we are excluded from being God’s children, from His table of grace. This means we lose the power accorded to us as His Sons and Daughters. We become weaker, more susceptible to further sickness, and easily succumbing to temptation.

As the Lenten season draws near, we are being called to renew our relationship with the Lord. We can do this by penance, works of mercy, and personal preparation for the renewal of our baptism during the Easter vigil.

Jesus is telling us that we are welcome into His banquet and that because of His great love for us, nobody is to be excluded. However, His love for us can only do so much. We have to act, reciprocate and show Him our love as well. For our love to be authentic and real, we have to endure challenges and trials. We have to learn how to sacrifice for the atonement of sins and for our development as well. In fact even before we could do that, our Lord has showed His own by dying on the cross to save us from sin. He showed us how great a Valentine He is!

We don’t need to be a genius to recognize God’s love for us happening in the events of our daily lives. We only need a pure heart, not a naïve and undiscerning mind, for us to understand how deeply Jesus loves us. Let this coming Lenten season therefore, be an opportunity for us to discern and reflect on the meaning of God’s love in our lives.

Starting Young

Principles and Values were instilled since your childhood and are continuously being formed during adulthood. Generation to generation, blood to blood, these are being passed on to build one’s character, to hone one’s personality. For who you are today, you are defined by the principles and values that you live by through your experiences and beliefs. What principles and values will you inspire others to stand up for?

His Great Mercy and Compassion

One of the most poignant stories of patience is the story of Job. In the First Reading of this Sunday, he lamented about his miseries on earth

 

Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery? Are not his days those of hirelings?” (Jb. 7: 1).

 

In his difficulty, he was restless, that even sleep escapes him. However, not many are like Job, who, despite the situation, never cursed God for his sufferings, but rather cursed the day of his birth. And although he was so anguished over what’s happening, he stopped short of accusing God of injustice.

 

It is important that when we are in a difficult situation, we shouldn’t dwell on these problems. We stay the course. We don’t give up on ourselves. We shouldn’t stop believing, and always choose to remain hopeful of God’s abundant mercy and compassion.

 

Come to think about it, many other people are like Job, feeling hopeless and desperate. Some of them may even be within our families, our friends, our co-employees, our neighbors, the folks we see in church, and in the many other places we go. I heard of a family who became victims of murder-suicide after having problems with their business. While we may not know the real reasons, on the surface though it is sad to know that people in difficult situations resort easily to suicide as a means to end life’s problems. They don’t find meaning in their problems, but rather see these difficulties as an end in itself. This is wrong because we don’t really just do things on our own but rather that every action we do affects the community and the faithful as well.

 

The challenge is what do we do now? What is our response?

 

It is important to remember that in these situations, our first recourse is to pray for God’s leading and guidance. No one else to go to but the Lord. No other one but Jesus.

 

Persevere.

 

In the story, Job cried out to God. Thank God that Job persevered and remained faithful. Our challenge therefore, is how to reflect God’s mercy and compassion to others who are desperate, hopeless, and who find life worthless and a drudgery.

 

how to be a listening ear,

how to be sensitive to others’ cries for help, and then

what action to take.

 

Let us continue to reflect on these and allow God to use us for His purpose.

 

Have faith!