Eternal Wealth

A crowd has gathered to hear Jesus. He was speaking only to His disciples, reminding them that it is not persecution they should fear but the judgment that is coming for all who do not acknowledge the Son of Man before the angels of God. Suddenly a man in the crowd shouts out to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus didn’t answer the man, instead he uses the question to teach what, in the light of the coming judgment, life really consists of. Jesus shares a parable in order to put the spotlight on greed. We are made privy to a man talking to himself. The man was like justifying to his soul that it’s alright to have a good time, since he has already accumulated possessions. His inner self seems to be telling him to put his wealth to more charitable uses. The rich man’s anxiety and work exposes his lack of faith in God’s abundance and care. People often mistake having for being, possession for existence; we forget that God is the giver of all that we have, we exalt the creation rather than the creator.

Jesus calls the rich man a “fool”— illustrating that the material possessions he accumulated won’t bring him eternal happiness. Then the Lord warned that it will be the same “for all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God.” Addressing his disciples, He said, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life and what you will eat, or about your body and what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.” (Lk. 12: 22-23)

Today, let us heed the call of Jesus to remind ourselves on what matters most in life. Let us remember that material wealth are the means rather than the end in itself. Life doesn’t consist in possessions but in sharing what is more with others. For whatever has been accumulated, it is meant to be shared to those in need.

If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.

Thoughts from Philippine Wacoal Corp.

The Code of Champions seminar – July 26, 2016 at the The Shang Grand Tower:
Very good speaker. Congratulations!
I apreciate the training, got some values that can be applied in daily life to have a balanced life
I will go home inspired and go home to be a better person
Made me realize that I should be thankful for all the blessings. Inspirational.
Enlightening. Made me appreciate life and the people around me
This seminar touched my heart. Worth sharing to my family and friends
My first time to attend a seminar like this. Best experience.
Very helpful seminar
I will keep to my heart all I learned today until I die
Inspiring / Interesting topic
Spiritually insightful
I learned a lot. I will apply this to my family
Fr. Armand is very accommodating
Wonderful talk
Not only a seminar but also a reflection
Entertaining seminar

Father, Holy be Your Name

One of the earliest prayers I learned as a young boy is the Our Father. It speaks about a child’s reverence for the Father he hasn’t seen but is one he is taught to be the Creator, living in Heaven, is superior and above everybody else. The boy imagined his Father to be above in the clouds, watching and taking care of everything He has created. Just the thought of the Father above make the boy feel in awe.
The Our Father as Jesus spoke in the Gospel is a complete prayer. It starts with the adoration of the Father, supplication or petition, and contrition. It contains simple requests: that we may have enough to eat today, that our sins may be forgiven, a willingness to forgive others also, and the ability to withstand temptation or test, and to deliver us from evil.

These are essentially the priorities we ask God when we pray. Mentioning the primal need of the body is an indication that Jesus recognizes and cares about our physical needs. As a spiritual being, Jesus emphasizes that we need to ask forgiveness of our sins, and as well as forgiving others who sinned against us. Jesus knows the difficulties of navigating in this life’s spiritual pilgrimage when there are oppressions and distractions. Finally, He invites us to seek God’s help in surmounting the difficulties in life which might separate us from him.

The Gospel also tells us that we have to be persistent in prayer. However, it is important to recognize that persistence is not the only criterion that determines whether our prayers are to be answered and fulfilled or not. It has to bring something good to us and others, and should make us better persons in the end. Thus, while there are things we want to be given to us, we should think about God’s will in our lives too. He sees beyond the present and into the future.

This is always the story of life. So many times, we pray for what we want in the present, such that we fail to see the big picture and the implications. It’s understandable because we live in a world of instant gratification, and so we want our prayers to be answered immediately. This is true ever since; people are always like that. Add to the fact that young people now are surely more impatient than before.

When our prayers are unanswered, we sometimes think it’s better to keep quiet and stop asking why. But we shouldn’t. Else we stop asking and we stop having faith. We should keep the conversation with God going. He loves us so much, such that He always surprises us with gifts and blessings beyond our imagination. We just have to keep following, trusting and believing in Him. Even if He doesn’t answer now, suffice it to say that He wants the best for us. In some time in the future, we will know why. We just have to keep asking.

“Lord when I cried out, you answered; you strengthened my spirit.” ~Ps. 138: 3.

Into the Mary Aspect

We, Filipinos are known for our hospitality. We spend great effort in making our guests feel at home and comfortable. I remember that when we were still in grade school, our parents would receive visitors and would ask us to leave our rooms and sleep with our other siblings while the guests were still staying with us. We experienced some inconvenience then but our visitors appreciated their accommodation so much so that our parents felt happy in the end. In the Gospel, our Lord Jesus was welcomed into the home of Martha and Mary. While Martha was burdened with serving the Lord, Mary sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha said, “Lord do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her. (Lk. 10: 38-42)

Many times in our life we are so worried about the day-to-day concerns that we tend to forget to sit back, reflect, and listen to God speaking to us. We didn’t realize that while what we were doing were important, we should have ensured that we spend time for reflection and prayer. St. Teresa of Avila once said: “If obedience sends you to the kitchen, remember that the Lord walks among the pots and pans and that he will keep you in inward tasks and in outward ones too”. While we are working, we should note that it can both be an act of faith and an act of prayer. The Lord is of course present in the work that we do, and any action can be imbued with prayer or in itself be a form of prayer. Thus, taken from that perspective, work can be refreshing and joyful, if we do it as an offering, as a prayer to God. St. Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei said in his seminal work “Friends of God”,

“Professional work, whatever it is, becomes a lamp to enlighten your colleagues and friends. That is why I usually tell those who become members of Opus Dei, and the same applies to all of you now listening to me: ‘What use is it telling me that so and so is a good son of mine — a good Christian — but a bad shoemaker?’ If he doesn’t try to learn his trade well, or doesn’t give his full attention to it, he won’t be able to sanctify it or offer it to Our Lord. The sanctification of ordinary work is, as it were, the hinge of true spirituality for people who, like us, have decided to come close to God while being at the same time fully involved in temporal affairs.”
The problem comes when our earthly dimension, the Martha aspect; pushes our Mary image out of our lives. Ideally, we should have a fine balance of our Martha and Mary aspects. However, worldly concerns affect the real balance we are experiencing. If we leave this to chance, chances are we will be living a life in misery and full of regrets over lost moments.
Finally, let us make sure that we never neglect our Mary aspect. Only then can we “maintain balance and live a life without regrets”.

LOVING GOD

In a society characterized by greed and envy, sharing our attention and sacrificing for others is uncommon. We would rather focus on ourselves, rather than attend to the needs of others around us. In the Gospel, when the priest saw a man half-dead, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise when a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Confronted with similar situations, there were times we behave like them, we ignore the needs of others, our eyes seemingly looking beyond into the horizon in an effort to look unaware of what’s going on.

It took a Samaritan traveler who was moved with compassion at the sight to help the man in need. In those times, the Jews and Samaritans treat each other with contempt. Their animosity is such that when referring to the other, they won’t even mention their identity, instead the Jew (in this narrative the scholar of the law) used “…the one” who treated him with mercy, (Lk. 10: 37) instead of simply referring to him as “the Samaritan”.
Loving God then isn’t that easy especially that He is unseen, too superior and beyond our understanding. That’s why the Lord also commanded us to love our neighbor, who is easily within grasp and touch. The difficulty though lies in the fact that we should love not only our friends and families, but also even our enemies, who are our “neighbors” to cover everything that is needed for us to do. The Gospel’s example of the friction between Jews and Samaritans is a good case that Jesus wanted us to understand in relating to the command of loving our neighbor. The example is a good illustration of how loving our neighbor is realized in our day-to-day lives. Human as we are, the condition is difficult but with the grace of God, we can be more like Him: humble, without pride and arrogance; loving, understanding and tolerant of others. We have been taught in class and in Catechism that this is the greatest commandment; it is better to reflect on this again, so that despite the daily pressures that life brings us, we can still look beyond the difficulties and the challenges. Our motivation to love God should be our driver in manifesting our love for others. Only then will it be lighter and more attuned to the will of God in our lives. There’s no other way to go, as this a command, and not just a request from the Lord.
“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Lk. 10: 27)

DO NOT DELAY!

Be prompt in expressing your appreciation. Readily dish out compliments as the occasion demands. You lose the moment of kindness when you postpone a good word that needs to be expressed. Positive feelings of the person involved surfaces and boosts morale!