Category Archives: Other

Be A Light

Many years ago when I was being sent on an errand by my Lola, I found a one-peso coin along the way. Upon returning home I told her about it and she said, “This is not ours, let’s give it to Church when we go to Mass.” Young and immature I was then, I felt dismayed that something that I found and could buy some candies is to be given elsewhere. But later, that lesson struck me about the values of being honest and trustworthy. Do not get what is not yours. Values that should be at the core of our being. Being endowed with honesty and trustworthiness stem from a deeply-seated humility and nobility of character. Not many are given that gift though, as it comes from a purposive and well-thought of behavior brought out by many years of learning and submission to authority. My Lola is a prime example as she has nurtured these values in her children and grandchildren (who have the blessing and opportunity to be guided and taught by her in our growing up years). She never took for granted the chance to teach us whenever situations were presented. And we are grateful to her for it.

In today’s Gospel (Lk. 3: 15-16, 21-22), we can see one of the perfect models of trustworthiness and humility in Scriptures, St. John the Baptist. When the time came that he was asked if Jesus is the Messiah, his classic reply is one filled with obedience and humility:

“I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

St. John lived his calling faithfully and without any selfish interest whatsoever. True he was popular and had many followers that’s why many were filled “with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ.”

There are many cases wherein people who have been entrusted betrayed their friends and benefactors. People like Judas Iscariot, spies, corrupt politicians and officials, come to mind as among these kind of people. When we sin, we become like them. It’s not about education nor about being with a certain religion. There are many professed Catholics who betray their faith by being unfaithful in their positions. Nobody is perfect, but what makes it more serious is when you don’t acknowledge, repent and mend your ways. Thus, it is something that is drawn from natural and moral laws that is almost always common sense. It takes strength of character, wisdom, and fear of the Lord to overcome the temptations to abuse power and wealth. When you fail, have the humility to accept it and repent before God and Church. When one has these virtues, it’s almost always automatic that that person is endowed with integrity. Sad to say, this is lacking today.

When you are a person obedient to faith, without blinking an eye you can present God to others without fear and worry. You know yourself and as well as the source of your power and strength. You don’t derive it from people and earthly power. It’s something powerful and out-of-this-world. You know that God is with you and won’t fail you.

After Jesus’ Baptism, God the Father affirmed “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Just like Our Lord, due to grace received at our baptism we are acknowledged by God as His sons and daughters. Thus considering most of us received Baptism when we were still infants, we have this obligation to learn, nurture and spread the faith. As parents, ask yourselves, “Have you done your obligation to teach your children what our faith is all about?” Have you taught them morality and in building principles and values in their lives? If you failed these roles, most probably these are the reasons why the world today is filled with dysfunctional men and women who persist in their ways.

Lately, Netflix released the movie “Noah” as an ambitious portrayal of the Biblical character descending from our first parents Adam and Eve. As the film portrayed, building the ark from “out of nothing” and a literally barren earth, Noah’s faith in the Creator (as the film calls God) was strong and unfailing. Despite threats from other men and to family unity, his obedience to the Creator prevailed and didn’t waver. His faith was strong and he was obedient.    

In this Baptism of the Lord Sunday, may we be obedient and faithful to our calling. May we have the strength to persevere and just like St. John the Baptist, offer everything that we have to God, whose honor, glory and power must “increase” while we “decrease” in faithful submission to Him. May we be “a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.” (First Reading, Is. 42: 1-4, 6-7).

The Lord will bless His people with peace.” (Ps. 29: 11b)

Victorious, Focused and Obedient

What is the first thing you do upon waking up in the morning? Some of us would say, “I drink water”, others “I fix my bed”, still some would say, “I’ll go to the comfort room”, while some pious among us would say, “I pray first”. However, our guest priest said that the first thing that is actually done, before all the others would be to “open our eyes”. Then the next things like praying, fixing the bed, etc. follows.

This question is relevant because this is connected to the last thing we do before laying our heads to sleep the night before. Before we end the day, and prior to sleeping, it is best practice to pray to God for a good night’s rest. We have to consider that because when at sleep, except for the fact that there is breathing, we are actually unconscious, even approximating death. It feels scary but that is the reality. Dreadful especially when one is not ready to face death. Even when one is “ready”, it is still a frightening thought of leaving this world to a still uncertain destination. It is appropriate then for us to be prepared when the time comes. Our day’s end prayer would approximate that of offering our body and soul to God so that we would be able to wake up to a new day. Not only to that but also the readiness to face death, if ever we are called in our sleep.

This Sunday, the Gospel tells us of the blind beggar Bartimaeus who asked our Lord to be given the chance to “see again”. Jesus said in reply, “Be on your way. Your faith has healed you.” (Mk. 10: 46-52)

The beggar actually didn’t waste time and even shouted louder when he was being asked to keep quiet. Blessings sometimes come to us when we least expect it, and even in quite difficult conditions requiring us to compete with others. Bartimaeus desperate conditions made him shout in order to catch Jesus’ attention, who was passing by unexpectedly. He made the immediate decision to call on Jesus, because it is his only way to catch the attention of the Lord.

Today, we are reminded to be thoughtful in the prayers we make. Our attention is called to the quality of our intentions and to whom and what we pray for. We are encouraged to pray for things that matter and not on things that are mere desires and earthly. Just like Bartimaeus, we should be able to discern the most important things in our lives that need instantaneous correction. Immediate because we don’t know the hour or circumstance when we are called back. Oftentimes in these areas of our lives Jesus’ healing is needed.

We are called to reflect on our own lives, how and what are we praying for. Are the intentions we are praying the things that really matter? Are we focused on aspects of our lives that need God’s healing touch?

The Gospels in the coming Sundays will speak of the end of days. Just like when we are about to sleep, let us make sure we pray for the most relevant intentions. We need to offer ourselves to Jesus, who is the only one who can heal us of our deepest infirmities. We need to do this because firstly, we need to ensure we are in a state of grace when we pass on. Secondly, we need to look into ourselves, whether we have lived the purpose for which God created us. And thirdly, whether we have lived a life to serving God and others.

It is therefore a compelling thing for us to ask Jesus to make us “see again”. Just like the blind beggar, our prayer should be on the things that matter most, and not on the things which are irrelevant and unimportant. Let us take note that when it is God who open our eyes, the first thing we see is God. Let us therefore shout out to our Lord to make us “see again”, so that we see Him and know what He wants us to do.

This way, we can be confident that we are directed to things that matter most to God. In doing so, we can be sure of being victorious and focused. We can be confident of always prioritizing the Spirit. For obedience to His will is what matters above all else.

Happy & Balanced Life

A happy and balanced person lives a busy schedule but not a cluttered lifestyle. Clutter is action without passion, an existence with no purpose. It may give us some excitement temporarily but it does not have a purpose, it is just that– an endless path with no purpose. Let us move away from the clutter. Life should be a holistic experience of personal motivation igniting passionate action.

Rev Fr Armand D Robleza, SDB

Fr Armand D Robleza, SDB — Author, Speaker, and Retreat Master

fr-armand-robleza-sdbArmand Dytianquin Robleza is a Salesian of Don Bosco. He was ordained a priest in 1980. He was the Salesian Delegate for Social Communications of the Philippine North Province of Don Bosco for seven years. He published The Y Factor, the 2009 Yearbook on the Filipino Youth which was awarded the 2009 Cardinal Sin Book of the Year Award in Ministry by the Catholic Mass Media Awards and the 2009 Anvil Award of Excellence by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines. Continue reading Rev Fr Armand D Robleza, SDB