Seeing Jesus in You

When going to your regular work, to competitive sports, to travel or even the lightest of tasks, there’s no substitute for preparation. Elite athletes start practicing earlier and finish much later than their ordinary teammates and competitors. Top students actually spend more time studying than other learners. When one doesn’t make any preparation, one is bound to come up short or even fail entirely. Regardless of what he is doing, thorough preparation is the hallmark of a successful and happy person.

Today is the First Sunday of Advent, the season to prepare for the coming of the Savior. In the Gospel reading (Mt. 24: 37-44) Jesus said that just like in the olden times, people will be

… eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man.

People will continue indulging in life’s pleasures excessively without regard for the poverty around. The Lord used a very appropriate example of shameless indulgence among the people during the time of Noah. So that others won’t repeat this mistake, He advised everyone, 


Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.

For the “unbeliever”, there’s no need to prepare something this Advent. There’s no reason and no motivation to look into his soul’s readiness for the coming of Christ into the world. Thus, there’s really nothing to do anything about. He will party lavishly, prepare food wastefully, and indulge in activities while proceeding without conscience for the poor in society.

On the other hand, the “spiritual” person prepares himself thoroughly in order to have his heart pure and ready to receive the Child Jesus. He goes to confession, do works of mercy, and shares his treasures with the least, the last and the lost.  For him, it is very important to be ready to receive God. He also makes sure that others see Jesus in him, because it is only in doing so that Jesus will be truly alive to others.

What about you? Are you the “unbeliever” or the “spiritual” person?

Today let us start our preparation for the coming of the Savior Jesus Christ. Let us find time to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, do works of mercy, do fasting, and share your treasures with the least, the last and the lost. One good thing that you can do this Christmas in case you haven’t made up your mind yet is to sponsor a poor child in Fr. Armand Robleza’s Your Kids My Kids Foundation — for supplemental feeding of severely malnourished children. (For details see the website: www.yourkidsmykids.org). You’ll surely be happy lighting up a child’s tummy for the next several months. And others will see Jesus in you!

Show us Lord, your love; and grant us your salvation.” (Ps. 85: 8)

Hail to Christ the King!

Today marks the end of the Liturgical Calendar, and what a better way to commemorate this by honoring Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe.

The Gospel reading brings us to St. Luke (Lk. 23: 35-43), at the scene of the crucifixion. While Jesus was hanging at the cross, the people and the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out,

If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.” Above him there was an inscription that read,
This is the King of the Jews.”

Imagine the humiliation that Jesus had to undergo. Even one of the criminals challenged the Lord by saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.” Yet the other criminal said to the other in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation?
And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.”

What happened in the biblical times is still happening now. The mockery that the Savior underwent in the Cross is repeated over and over again by people who also claim to be His followers. It is the greatest humility that the King had to endure in order to save us all. He went through all the sufferings we can ever imagine under the Roman soldiers; Rome as an empire became powerful because of the strength of its army. It was one of the most powerful armies at that time. It was advanced, the best trained, had the best weapons and the best armor at its zenith. And the Lord suffered at the hands of these soldiers!

Yet Jesus offered forgiveness and didn’t point everything to himself. While Pilate thought of Jesus as a political or military ruler, Christ said, “My kingdom does not belong to this world” (Jn. 18, 36). Pilate missed the point, that Christ’s kingdom does not de­pend on worldly power, might, and strength. This is a heavenly and spiritual kingdom that depends on faith, prayer, and its fruit: good works. Even on the way to His gruesome death, Jesus was concerned of others as he told the many women who mourned and lamented him, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, (Lk. 23: 27-28).

The insight of the good thief is a viable alternative presented to us, other than the sounding echoes of the big hypocritical crowd present at that time. Here, was a lone voice heard over the noise of the shouts and mockery in the hills of Golgotha. His deep humility is something worth reflecting,

Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

The Savior showed the highest level of humility in suffering during His Passion, Death and Resurrection. He showed us that the way to greatness is not through arrogance, pride and power, but in humility, faith and living a life of prayer and submission to the will of the Father.

He humbled himself,becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.(Phil. 2: 8)

It isn’t the way that the world knows, but is something deeper and more meaningful. That is why,

“…God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2: 9-11)

Today let us humble ourselves before the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe.

To Him be all the Honor, Glory, Power and Strength, now and forever! Amen.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!” (Mk. 11: 9, 10)

The Lord Will Bring Us Through

Just last week, I was talking with one of my previous staff based in Davao. She was sharing about the latest earthquake and was describing her fears and anxieties. At the time when the magnitude 6.4 quake shook the earth, she described what happened as the earth moved, how they could hear the sound of the structures swaying, the trees rustling and sounds from people shouting. She thought it was the “end of the world.” She described how colleagues had to abandon their condominium units for safer places. They were practically sleepless at night trying to be sensitive if ever the next one happens.  

As we are approaching the end of the Liturgical Year, the latest readings are mostly focused on the “End of Days”. In today’s Sunday Gospel (Lk. 21: 5-19), Jesus said, “All that you see here– the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

Then they asked him, “Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?”

He answered, “See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ andThe time has come.’ Do not follow themWhen you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified
; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end.”

Even in those times more than 2,000 years ago, the disciples were already forewarned about what it will be in the end. The Lord have to console them, but more importantly preparing them for what is more important: how they will be persecuted in His name. He admonished them that suffering in the hands of men, kings and governors, will happen before the end comes. They will be interrogated but the Lord instructed them not to prepare their defense beforehand, for

I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death.  You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

What the Lord told His closest friends applies to us as well. We have to look beyond all these events in order not to get distracted from our missions. These are all temporal and passing. While these happenings are more than enough to scare us, let us take the Lord’s promise that for as long as we believe and persevere, we will survive these tests and there will be justice! (First Reading Mal. 3: 19-20a). By His amazing grace we will be blessed with Eternal Life someday.

Today let us continue praying for peace, freedom from persecution, and absence of fear. May we be strengthened with the thought that the Lord will bring us through in the end of days.

Stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” (Lk. 21: 28)

Heaven is Real!

Many years ago, someone I know was of the belief that life ends here on earth. He’d tell me, “You don’t need to attend Mass because heaven is here and not after death”. I was very young then and so it was normal to entertain some doubts and confusion. Years after that, however; he complained of severe headaches and was found to have a tumor in the brain that has already swelled in size. The cancer had spread fast and he eventually died several months after. It was sad, but the good thing was that he actually repented and for the first time in his life proclaimed that he will spend the remaining days in contrition and prayer. He asked for supplications and joined the dawn Rosary every time it passes his home.

After his passing, I realized how he was loved by God such that he was allowed to experience pain and suffering that led to repentance and hope that strengthened his faith. With his family around to support till the end, it allowed him to see beyond this ordeal and suffering. It was a gift that saved his soul from eternal damnation.

In the Gospel (Lk. 20: 27-38), some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection,
came forward and put this question to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us, If someone’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first married a woman but died childless. Then the second and the third married her, and likewise all the seven died childless. Finally, the woman also died. Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be? For all seven had been married to her.”

Jesus said to them, “The children of this age marry and remarry; but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise. That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called outLord, ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” 

Presently there are still people who live as if it ends here and that there’s no eternity. They live a life that is inconsiderate to others. They do not fear God in that they commit crimes that make people suffer. They display arrogance and pride aside from showing off what earthly wealth they have, contrary to the Lord’s teachings of humility and meekness.

Today let us pray for strength to endure earthly sufferings and persevere in the faith. May we find inspiration from one of the brothers mentioned in the First Reading (2 Mc. 7: 1-2, 9-14) who said to his torturers at the point of death: “You accursed fiend, you are depriving us of this present life, but the King of the world will raise us up to live again forever.  It is for his laws that we are dying.”

Jesus Christ is the firstborn of the dead; to him be glory and power, forever and ever.” (Rv. 1: 5a, 6b)

Sharing One’s Wealth

The fruit of humility is when one’s heart possesses the ability to share one’s possessions with the poor without thinking about returns, coming from a deeper understanding of God’s love in its purest form.

This Sunday’s Gospel (Lk. 19: 1-10) tells of a man named Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, who was seeking to see who Jesus was; but could not see him because of the crowd for he was short in stature. Despite physical limitation, Zacchaeus humbled himself by climbing a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received Jesus at his home with joy. Despite what he heard from others who grumbled about Jesus staying “at the house of a sinner”, it didn’t deter him from remaining firm and proclaimed to the Lord that he shall give to the poor “half of his possessions” and promised that if he has extorted anything from anyone he “shall repay it four times over.”

          
One of the difficulties in becoming a disciple of Christ is in sharing one’s wealth with others. It often becomes a “thorn in the neck”, and obstacle that hinders one from embracing Jesus fully.


Our Lord knew it so well such that Jesus’ reaction to him was expressed in a delightful manner,

Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. 
For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost
.”

The Lord was so pleased with Zacchaeus’ action such that the ultimate reward of salvation was pronounced on him and his household. When one gives up one’s self in the form of giving up material wealth for others, one is exercising the virtue of charity and selflessness. In the case of Zacchaeus, his faith in Jesus was such that he embraced what the Lord was teaching throughout the days of His ministry, by obedience to the teaching of sharing one’s wealth with the least in Jewish society. It should be the of gaining the values of honesty, cautiousness, faith, gratitude, perseverance and humility. Arguably, sharing one’s wealth with the poor can make turn one’s obedience in the opposite way.

Today let us pray for wisdom and be warned of the danger of riches and how it can destroy our souls. May we be mindful of St. Paul’s exhortation in the Second Reading (2 Thes. 1:11 – 2:2), that we may be,

worthy of His calling and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose and every effort of faith, that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Sharing what we have with others will hopefully make us worthy of being called God’s sons and daughters.

I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.” (Ps. 145: 1)

Humbling Yourself

As I was watching the basketball game on cable TV, the announcers were talking about the PBA’s five-time (and consecutive years) MVP, who they said, is still humble, despite his achievements. They said, “Up to now, he doesn’t brag, he is so humble and is always wishing the best for other players.” As a consequence, everybody looks up to him and is always a big vote-getter amongst his peers whenever the selection of the best in the conference or in the season is needed. 

In today’s Gospel (Lk. 18: 9-14), the Lord told the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. The Pharisee was a portrait of self-righteousness and arrogance; imagine bragging to God about himself while praying in the temple. He was literally “counting off” the reasons why he is up above the rest of humanity. On the other hand, the tax collector was “very repentant, stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’”

There are many who fell victim to this type of self-righteousness, some even serving in the various church communities. This is dangerous because imagine serving in ministry and yet losing to this infirmity of the spirit. When people aren’t grounded on their service and their faith, they can become like the Pharisees of Jesus’ time. That’s why the Lord reminds us, 

“…whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Jesus himself showed us the example of perfect humility: he suffered torture, shame and mockery, and eventually died on the Cross for our sins. Imagine the Son of God bearing that kind of suffering and death? That’s simply because he wants to redeem the world from our sins. Such great love for us, right?

The danger of self-righteousness bordering on arrogance and pride can indeed be lethal. It is something all of us have to be wary about. When our egos are touched, it is easy to fall into the ditch of self-righteousness. If one isn’t careful and prayerful, material wealth and position in society can cloud one’s judgment and make him a natural prey to pride and self-righteousness. Therefore, one needs regular prayer and self-reflection to keep him focused on the Lord. When one’s attention is on the Lord, one starts to lose paying so much attention to how he is looked up by society and starts serving others.

The themes of the past Sundays talk about honesty, cautiousness, faith, gratitude, and perseverance. This time, we are reminded to be and to remain humble in submission to God’s will for our lives. 

Let us keep the focus on Him as our Lord and Master who knows the best for us. When we are tired, tempted and challenged, let us be consoled by St. Paul (2 Tm. 4: 6-8, 16-18) who, when sensing that the “time of departure is at hand”, claims the crown of righteousness from the Lord, the “just” judge. St. Paul knew he has suffered, has finished the race, and have kept the faith. 

May we be able to say the same when our time comes, just like St. Paul. 

God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, and entrusting to us the message of salvation.” (2 Cor. 5: 19)

AZS 10.27.2019

Pray without ceasing!

One of the unexplainable situations that I’ve experienced was when as a young engineer I was preparing on my first ever international business travel to Jakarta, Indonesia. To put things in perspective, in corporate practice, funds are usually released the day before the scheduled departure. Since I was to leave on a Sunday, the release of funds was scheduled to be released on a Friday afternoon. So on a Friday after doing that, I need to drop by the bank to do some transactions. However, it was located in San Juan which is actually nearby but with the horrendous traffic on Friday afternoons, there’s risk of not making it on the 4 o’clock bank closing time. And so, at a little past 3 I started driving towards Greenhills. It took me about 40 minutes to reach the area. Thus I have only a little less than 15 minutes left to get my transaction at the bank. The parking lot was full and so I have to say my prayers to Our Lady to help me find parking. It took only a few minutes of waiting when the car in the slot at my right hand side made a signal that he’s leaving already and so I could take his slot. Is it a “coincidence”? 

While already inside the bank, I saw the security guard guiding a person walking towards me. To my surprise, that person was actually bringing the car keys, which I didn’t notice falling out of my pocket as I took the available slot in the parking area. I couldn’t describe my feelings when it started sinking in. How can I drive the car home when the keys fell out of my possession? I was so grateful to the driver because losing the keys would be another unimaginable inconvenience. Especially that I’d be traveling that coming Sunday and will be gone for almost two months.

So after the expression of deep gratitude, I proceeded with my bank transaction, which, actually expired already after the bank closed at 4 to end the day. But the bank staff told me that they can extend receiving transactions and included me in the queue. What a relief! Another answered prayer!

After completing the transactions, I left the bank and was so thankful to the Heavens for aiding me in what I had to do. But it didn’t end there. As I was in the car and preparing to get out of the parking area, I noticed the bank staff who was handling my transactions waving and running towards where I’m located. What he was bringing to me is my Passport which I didn’t notice dropping out of my office bag. OMG, what is happening to me? Why am I getting very careless so as not to even notice something is missing in my bag? 

The “series of unfortunate events” happening one after the other in the last hour and the corresponding “miracles” defy explanation. But you know what, in each of those instances, I was always quick to call on the power of prayer for heavenly intercession. And the heavens didn’t fail to answer. And they have always rescued me each time. Every time!

In the Gospel (Lk. 18: 1-8), Jesus shared with us the importance of praying always without becoming weary. He talked about the judge, who neither feared God nor respected any human being, and the widow, who used to come to him and say, “Render a just decision for me against my adversary.” Because of the widow’s persistence, the judge did render a just decision for her, “lest she finally come and strike me.” 

Many times in my life I’ve been confronted with challenging and difficult situations. Whether it be career, work-related, family, or just any situation needing speedy solutions, the power of prayer has always been unbeatable. The more important challenges though are those that threaten our souls and thus needing more incessant prayers. The enemy can use our comfort zones to tempt us to be lazy and complacent, sometimes even without us realizing the consequences of the situations we are confronted with. That’s why we need the power of prayer to ensure a Spirit-guided earthly pilgrimage. A currently comfortable situation can turn into something difficult but with God’s grace and help, your soul can be at peace and happy despite the challenge. It is what the saints experience when making the difficult situation a joyful experience.

May we always be prayerful so that we gain access to His peace. May we pray without ceasing so that we will have the capability to defend against temptations. May we follow the inspiration of St. Paul in the Second Reading (2 Tim. 3: 14-4: 2), to be 

“…persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.”

Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (Ps. 121: 2)

Be Grateful!

During the past week another successful review at work was conducted and our team is extremely grateful that we got it with flying colors. In the rundown to the 4-day event, we have to work on our template which was developed over so many months in preparation for a different but related review which happened a month before. Pressure was mounting as the reviews drew near as we wanted to prepare well. Extra work was done, relaxation was reduced, and sacrifices were made. As in any other review, the team wanted to prepare thoroughly and properly. The hallmark of the leadership team was to impress on everyone that we have to be ready for it. We don’t want to leave any stone unturned in the desire to give a good account of the plant’s high ratings in quality and productivity indices. We want to be consistent in visual review and inspection.

When time for preparation was almost done, I told the team that “we’ve done everything we can, now it’s time to pray for God to bless all our efforts.” With God’s grace, the team was able to get high marks and exceed expectations. We thanked the Lord for His graciousness and mercy for guiding us through the preparations, ensuring we didn’t miss anything. He was with us during those pressure-packed moments and strengthened us with good health and patience. When the review team leader revealed the results, the first words we uttered were “Thank you Lord for the help!” No one should claim credit for the results as it was a product of team effort, unity of purpose, and hard work. Everyone cooperated and contributed their share, despite the ongoing operations. Everyone was grateful and thankful for the achievement, giving the glory to God rather than ourselves. It was successful because everyone shared what they could and God blessed our efforts. Without God’s blessings, we know we couldn’t have delivered exemplary ratings.

In the Gospel (Lk. 17: 11-19), only one of the ten lepers healed by Jesus returned to “glorify God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked Him.” The leper was being grateful and thankful for the healing that happened. Other than being full of gratitude, he was able to look down and humble himself such that “he fell at the foot of Jesus…”

When one is grateful, one is also most likely a humble person. He knows that what good things that happen isn’t only his own, but are blessings from God. The more we make great achievements, the more we should be humble to accept that what we have are blessings from God and are results of help from others, who have been touched by the Spirit to follow His leading.

When you are blessed, you should also look forward to the future, to share your blessings so that many will be touched and healed. Regardless of how others see it, a person with humility will most likely say it is a miracle. Out of the humility of your spirit you always give the credit to God: “Ad majorem Dei gloriam”, to God be the glory!  

May we always be grateful and thankful to Him for all that we are and all that we have. May the Lord continue to grant us His favors, that in so doing, we become bearers of His good news of salvation to others.

In all circumstances, give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thes. 5: 18)

Have Faith!

The other day, a friend revealed a story about a young man who was so depressed such that he took his own life. The young man felt everyone was against him for taking an unpopular stand. He was cyber-bullied and was shamed in school. He felt lost and betrayed by everyone, so much so that he must have felt so down and so alone which eventually led to that fateful decision.

There are times that you feel so burdened with challenges that you feel the Lord is so far and is so quiet: “There are injustices committed,Corruption is still prevalent”, “The children are having problems in school”, “Debts are piling up”, “Health is failing”, “I’m so alone, no one is with me”, etc. etc. You feel that He is indifferent to your needs and prayers. You ask, “Why do bad things happen to me?”, or “Is God sleeping”. It can even take the worse, sometimes questioning your faith, “God, are you real?”

In the First Reading (Hab. 1: 2-3; 2:2-4), the prophet cried out,

How long, O LORD?  I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not intervene. Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and clamorous discord.”

And yet the Lord responded,

Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily. For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. The rash one has no integrity; but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.

God is telling us to be patient, as things will turn for the better in due time, in His time. It “will not disappoint, if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late”. He is the God of the Universe and so it’s His call when to intervene. All things are allowed for a reason: it is to toughen us, to build our faith, to test our patience. Only He knows what the future holds, so we just have to trust Him and hang on. We are still endowed with free will so it’s really up to us if we want to survive these challenges and persevere in our faith.

In the Gospel (Lk. 17: 5-10), the apostles were asking the Lord to “Increase our faith.” The Lord replied,


If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,and it would obey you.”

Faith can move mountains, as they say. The Lord wants to assure us that He is in control. Regardless of what happens, we must be joyful for having Him behind our back. He is “our strength, our rock, our fortress, our deliverer, our shield, our stronghold!” (Ps. 18: 2-3).

May we take to heart St. Paul’s message in the Second Reading (2 Tim. 1: 6-8, 13-14),

For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. 
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God
.”

May we be always faithful to Him, to be on guard yet secure, to be watchful yet confident and to persevere in the faith.

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” (Ps. 95: 8)

Be On Guard

Enzo (not his real name) is a friend I met way back in the Church community. He has a beautiful family, a stable job, and was active in the ministry for so many years. Some years back, I started missing him in the Friday worship and meetings. It was a few years after that I heard there was a falling out with his spouse and they had chosen to live apart. It was sad because it was like a family made perfectly.

The journey to Heaven isn’t easy to complete especially in a world made materialistic, mad and passive. It takes a lot of focus, hard work and prayers (tons of them) to survive this spiritual battle as there’s a lot of distractions, challenges, and temptations. Our human weakness coupled with loss of commitment to fight the good fight of faith bring in the danger of falling out of the road. It is a threat so real that when you aren’t prepared and ready to do battle against complacency and earthly ambitions, you will surely fall on the wayside.

In the First Reading (Am. 6:1a, 4-7), the Lord warned the complacent in Zion, how they lie upon “beds of ivory, stretched comfortably on their couches, eat lambs taken from the flock, and calves from the stall!” The Lord declared that “they shall be the first to go into exile, and their wanton revelry shall be done away with.”

The Gospel (Lk. 16: 19-31) tells about the rich man and Lazarus, who lived contrasting lifestyles while living on earth. The rich man was “dressed in purple garments and fine linen,
dined sumptuously each day
”. On the other hand, Lazarus was a poor man, “covered with sores, and who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table.” To most of us, we already know the rest of the parable, ending with the rich man begging Abraham, “to send him (Lazarus) to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.” But Abraham replied, that they have Moses and the prophets, and for the five brothers to listen to them. The rich man insisted but Abraham said, “If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.”

The rich man’s reaction is common for most of us. We want hard evidence to believe in Eternal Life even though we’ve been taught about it in school, in Church and in the family as well. While you may start well in your community, you may find yourself midway in your life journey and then the doubts start to creep in. You start to compare yourself with others and ask questions about why you aren’t this and why you aren’t that. The devil sees the opportunity and so you find yourself getting comfortable with your “new” lifestyle away from Church and then from the Lord. You forgot what you’ve learned in your life journey that like any competition, it is not how you start but it is how you finish.

Let us pray to listen and accept the challenge of St. Paul in today’s Second Reading (1 Tm. 6: 11-16),

But you, man of God, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. 
Compete well for the faith. Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you before God, who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus, who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate for the noble confession, to keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ
.”

May we be always faithful to Him, to be on guard, and to persevere.

Though our Lord Jesus Christ was rich, He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich.” (2 Cor. 8: 9)

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