A few months ago, we were interviewing a new graduate and what struck me about him was when we asked to tell us about himself. He told us candidly, “I grew up in the farm, where there are sugar cane fields. I would play with other young boys in the neighborhood, where we would ride the rail car and have great fun. When I started going to school, I realize that we were poor, because there are others who have very nice clothes and shoes. They were also brought to and fetched after classes in beautiful cars.”
In our lives, we also realize that there are others better and lesser than we are. We see the differences anywhere we go, from Church to school to work and in other communities we visit. We don’t have to look far: we look at the informal settlers along the banks of the Pasig River, and just a stone’s throw, we can see the beautiful houses of exclusive subdivisions.
There’s a lot of disparity in the society that we live in. Most (but not all) of the officials that we have trusted to lead and take care of us have been betraying the citizens that they have sworn to serve. Resources that could have been allocated for education, livelihood, infrastructure and other services are being spent to enrich their pockets and families. The challenge therefore is in how we react to this situation. If you are a champion, it comes naturally to help and do something. No matter how small it is. If you’re not a champion, you don’t need to act on the challenge, and just whine about the whole thing. It’s not that champions are better or are more intelligent than the average Christian. But the dedication to the service, the attitude towards life and the abundant love will make champions much better than the average person.
To become a better than average person, we need to have more faith than others. The world is full of confusion, hatred, hurts and discrimination. The champion, who has that extra faith in God, in himself and in the innate goodness of people will be able to handle problems and challenges better than others. It is this type of faith that lifted Mother Teresa to do the extraordinary missions she did in India. It is this type of extraordinary faith that made Mary accept the challenge to become the mother of our Lord and of all mankind. (Last week we celebrated the memorial of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. While it is not as grand as the other feasts of the Blessed Mother, nonetheless we are reminded about the Holy Rosary, a simple prayer, yet deep and pleasing to the Lord.)
To become a better than average person, we need to have more love than others. This world is full of lonely individuals in need of love. Most are surrounded by a lot of people and yet they still feel alone. They need to be cared and loved. In today’s world, love is given many meanings. We see it in songs, we read it on books, we see it in Facebook, we watch it in the movies. It is given many meanings that we begin to be unsure of what it really means. Love is about being sensitive to the needs of others. It can see where others can’t, like the needs of the poor and the needy. It has arms to embrace those who are hurting. It has speech of kindness to speak to the brokenhearted.
To become a better than average person, we need to have more perseverance than others. Champions are ordinary people who do ordinary things in extraordinary ways. When those around us quit, we are still up trying to succeed and survive. While others are not paying attention, champions are still being attentive, always concerned about the welfare others. Champions sow seeds, even though these plants take time to grow and harvest.
St. Paul teaches us about God providing us the strength to overcome everything when he said,
“…for I have learned, in whatever situation I find myself, to be self-sufficient. I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need. I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me.”(Phil. 4: 11-13)
Champions have that abundance mentality, that attitude that there is enough for everyone. Not being selfish, he lives in abundance of love, of sharing, of caring and being ready to help others in need. He knows that he is merely an instrument of the greatness of the Creator behind him, creating the daily miracles necessary to sustain goodness and live a life of abundance.
Let us pray that as champions, we don’t become average — because we have more faith, more love, and more perseverance.