Repent, Renew, Revitalize

One of the characters that we don’t like to be compared with is Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve but who betrayed the Lord. Sadly, if we look at our own selves, there have been many times we’ve also committed betrayal through the sins and offenses we commit. Every time we offend the Lord, when we commit wrongdoing, there is betrayal, there is treachery.

In today’s readings we are treated to a rundown of the Palm Sunday (Lk. 19: 28-40) and up to the events leading to the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ. A mix of emotions fill the readings, starting with the Procession of the Palms. In this triumphant entry into Jerusalem, it is described that prior to the event, Jesus sent two of His disciples into the village to find a colt tethered “on which no one has ever sat, to untie it and bring it here.” The power of His word was illustrated further when even the owners of the colt didn’t stop them when the disciples told them, “The Master has need of it.”

As He rode along, the people were spreading their cloaks on the road; and now as He was approaching the slope of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of His disciples
began to praise God aloud with joy for all the mighty deeds they had seen. They proclaimed
: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.”

In those days the Jews were expecting Jesus to liberate them from the oppression of the Romans, thus their eagerness to proclaim the Lord as King.

Then the Gospel reading (Lk. 22: 14-23: 56) brings us into the Upper Room where the Lord is commemorating the Passover with His disciples, the Master saying an emotional goodbye to them,

I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for, I tell you, I shall not eat it again until there is fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”

It was during these moments that Jesus tells them (and us) about true discipleship. Despite being beaten, scourged, crucified and dying on the Cross, Jesus did not condemn but prays for and forgives those who have rejected Him. We are participants in this events because by Jesus’ Passion and Death He saved us from the chains of sin and death. Thus, we are being invited to “repent” from our sins, “renew” our commitment to the Lord, and “revitalize” our faith by sharing in the proclamation of the Kingdom, not only by sharing His Word, but by how we live the Gospel message. It is not meant to be seen, but rather to be lived!

The Lord didn’t use strength and might but rather showed that suffering and dying a grossly painful death is the way to save His people from the oppression of the evil one. He taught us that the best way to lead is to serve.

Let us therefore pray for the humility, the courage and the strength to repent from our sins, renew our commitment, and revitalize our faith in God.

Christ became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. because of this, God greatly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name.” (Phil. 2: 8-9)

Sincere Repentance

There are many reasons why one should be humble and obedient. Among these is that you are also a sinner and while it may appear on the outside that you are good, there’s the dark side of your personality that you think only you know — you forgot that God in Heaven knows everything about you. That is why, it is so downright awful for people to judge others when they themselves are guilty of being sinners too. We can see so many examples of people who show themselves praying in Church and pictures taken for publicity’s sake. Yet on the side are guilty of being hypocrites. They just paint something about themselves to fool others into thinking that they are as good as seen on the pictures when in fact they are not. On the other side, there are times you know too well a person that outright you tend to be judgmental on him. You judge him to be such because that’s what you perceived him to be. However, it’s just not right and it’s not what the Lord desires of us. He wants us to look into ourselves first before judging others. He wants us to be compassionate as we don’t know why things and events happen in the first place. He tells us that we don’t really know the whole story so there’s no basis for our biased judgment. The Lord Himself experienced that indifference by His townmates early in His ministry.

In this Fifth Sunday of Lent the Gospel (Jn.8: 1-11) tells us that while Jesus was in the temple area where people started coming to Him, the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him,

Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery.
Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say
?”

They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

We are being reminded that what the Lord answered to the scribes and the Pharisees apply to us as well:

Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Deep into Lent Jesus is inviting us to look deep into our beings and attitudes. After the crowd and the elders left, and when no one has condemned the woman, Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.

He exhorts us to “not sin any more” and thus we should be “fasting and weeping and mourning.”And that we “Rend (y)our hearts and not (y)our garments.” (Jl. 2: 12-13) The message is urgent and the time is now for us to make one final act of amending our lives in preparation for the coming Holy Week. This is the kind of repentance – sincere repentance – that God wants from us.

Let us pray for the humility to acknowledge our own weaknesses and confess these to the Lord in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. May the Holy Spirit grant us the wisdom and discernment to know the snares of the evil one as we go deeper into Lent. May the Lord take possession of us as we continue to pursue with our lives the nod and approval of our Jesus Christ.

The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.” (Ps. 126: 3)

The Father’s Love

There were many times in the past that I have failed my father. Once, when he and Mom visited me in Cebu, I wasn’t at my aunt’s home but found out that I was with my cousins in Fuente Osmena passing the night away, as it was the eve of the Sinulog. They actually expected me to be home and not elsewhere. I didn’t expect them to be visiting us at that time so that when my cousins got word that they arrived early that evening, out of fear I attempted to go by the back door but lo and behold, my Dad was there waiting for me. What followed next were words that I expected him to tell me: firm but still loving in a tough kind of way. He told me that being the eldest I should be able to control myself in avoiding partying and focusing instead on my studies. He was telling me that the family expects me to be responsible and conscientious of everything that I do while I’m still in school. I was so embarassed that that thing happened, and I promised my parents that it won’t happen again and that they can trust my word.

In this Fourth Sunday of Lent the Gospel (Lk. 15: 1-3, 11-32) tells us of the overflowing love of the father for his “prodigal” son. We know in the parable that after squandering his share of the inheritance, the son found himself “in dire need.” He worked as a tender of swine and he “longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any.” He realized that the workers of his father have more than enough food to eat, as compared with him who is “dying from hunger.” After thinking about it, he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was “filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.” Ignoring the norms and practices of the Jewish culture, the father moved out to meet his son. He even caught sight of him while the son was still a long way off, meaning he was waiting and longing for that moment to happen. This scene tells us of the overflowing love of his father towards his son.

In the Gospel, as the usual complaining people, the Pharisees and scribes were saying referring to Jesus, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them”. Though this parable, Jesus tried to explain to them how the Heavenly Father’s love made the Lord look at tax collectors and sinners with compassion and mercy. This story perfectly illustrates the Father’s love for His people, regardless of their state of sin. As St. Paul said in the Second Reading (2 Cor. 5: 17-21):

…God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”

This is a very timely message addressed to us not only in this holy season of Lent, but at all times. We are reminded to go into the Sacrament of Reconciliation as He is waiting for our repentance and seeking of forgiveness from Him. His love is immeasurable, a love beyond imagination and understanding. We don’t have to fear, as His mercy knows no limits, His compassion knows no boundaries.

As the Holy Week draws near, may we be like the son and tell our Heavenly Father,

Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.”

Let us pray for the humility to bow down before Him, knowing fully well that He created us, and therefore we have to obey and trust Him with our lives. We have nothing to fear because He is a loving, gracious and caring God who looks not at our shortcomings but considers us as sons and daughters who are worthy of being heirs to His Kingdom.

May we take His invitation to heart while we still have time, while we still can.    

Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.” (Ps. 34: 9a)

Staying the Course, Pleasing God

Many job assignments back, I had a staff member who was always complaining (just like the Pharisees and the scribes in the past days Gospel readings) with just anything. He complains about his workmates, his relationships with friends, and some other departments in the company. You almost can’t hear anything positive from him. He’s one person who you avoid because you worry to be enveloped by the negativity in his attitude. The difficulty for me then was that he was already advance in age and I knew I have little influence in him. He retired years after that and the last time I know is that he has settled back in the province and hopefully, with age (and maturity) he has become wiser and better of having a life of positivity and good vibes.

The Gospel (Lk. 13: 1-9) in this Third Sunday Lent, the people were quite fixed on the appropriate Jewish way of preparing the sacrifices for Yahweh. They had the notion that people die gruesome deaths because of their sins. And so, they complained that Pilate mixed the blood of those people with the blood of their sacrifices so that they thought these offerings were tainted with sins of those people.

Jesus said to them in reply,


Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means!”

Jesus used it as an opportunity to tell them about the importance of repenting and reforming their lives. He warned that 

But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”

The Lord’s message is now clearer and more stern in His warning, that death will come to those who remain to wallow in sin and indifference to the faith. Jesus feels that people are still hardheaded and choose darkness over the light. The present over Heaven. And the same attitude is prevailing in the world today. Some politicians remain corrupt and crooked, some people choose the easier life, some take detours to enjoy the dazzling ways of the world, as if there’s no tomorrow and thinking that life here on earth is permanent. The risks and the anxieties surrounding that kind of life is real. Who can even tell that the unexpected happens and you suddenly die and for sure you will go to a place nobody-likes-to-go and suffer eternal damnation! It’s real and it’s true! Hell is terrifying and just the thought of it makes me tremble in fear.

If you follow and please God in your life, you can be at peace and ready at any time without big time worrying. You will be calmer and trustful of how the Lord will judge you because you have tried consistently to stay the course. But it is not a reason to rejoice and be complacent because you still need to remain humble and grounded. Actually, the more you think and reflect on this, you will realize that you aren’t worthy even of being in the Lord’s presence. You will feel the filth, the garbage, and the smell that your sins bring to your soul. So again, the Lord is inviting all of us to take His message to heart: 

“…if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”

St. Paul wrote aptly in the Second Reading (1 Cor. 10: 1-6, 10-12):

These things happened as examples for us, 
so that we might not desire evil things, as they did. 
Do not grumble as some of them did, 
and suffered death by the destroyer.
These things happened to them as an example, 
and they have been written down as a warning to us, 
upon whom the end of the ages has come.
Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure 
should take care not to fall
.”

Our mission then is to live our lives in ways that please God and not man. Stay the course. In doing so, we avoid getting into the fates of those who perished before us.

Let us pray that we be mindful that our lives be pleasing to God not only in these Lenten season but at all times. Let us pray that the Lord pardon us of our repented sins, and that we remain steadfast in our faith.

Repent, says the Lord; the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” (Mt. 4: 17)

Listening to Jesus

When I was young boy one of the lessons I learned from my elders is to hear and to listen. Every time I fail to listen they would ask me, “Didn’t you listen to what I told you? Alan, remember this: always pay attention to what we are saying.” Now it’s my turn to remind my people to listen to what I’m saying. I also tell them that whenever our superiors ask us something, we sort of “drop” (figuratively) what we are doing and do what has been requested of us. What our superiors ask us to do is important, so it makes sense to re-arrange priorities and do it. 

In the Gospel (Lk. 9: 28b-36), “Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray…” While he was praying, the Transfiguration happened: His face changed in appearance and His clothing became dazzling white. Two men (prophets actually) were conversing with Him, Moses and Elijah. Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him. He suggested to the Lord for them to make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But he did not know what he was saying. While he was still speaking, a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my chosen Son; listen to Him.”

I could imagine the way the voice of God the Father echoed and reverberated in the mountains that day. Forceful and directing to the Apostles and to us today, “This is my chosen Son, listen to Him.”  We have been “ordered” by the Creator to listen, and not to ignore. In living as an “ordinary” human in those times, Jesus healed the sick from various illnesses, drove off evil spirits and performed other miracles. Most of them were looking at the Messiah as one who will come in majesty and splendor. They wanted Him to be coming to liberate them from oppression in the literal sense of the word. But it’s not meant by the Father to be that way. As it was before, so it is now: He speaks to us in ways that our human eyes can’t see.

I know this because when we become mindful of what’s happening around us, we can actually feel the hand and movements of God. Sometimes the events that are happening are telling us things that we only have to be thankful for the lessons and grateful for the insights these bring to us. At times, He speaks through ordinary people that we encounter: the security guard at the mall, the cleaner at the yard, or the attendant at the gas station.

A few months back I watched Noah in Netflix, the adaptation of the biblical story. Many were disappointed that it veered away from the biblical version but what struck me the most in the movie was how the Creator gave instructions to Noah. To avoid being anticlimactic to those who haven’t seen it yet, suffice it to say that the way the Creator gave the instructions was different from how it was described in the Holy Book such that if Noah wasn’t spiritual he wouldn’t have recognized God’s message to him. It’s the same with us, God wouldn’t appear to us just like how He did to His chosen ones, but if we are to read, see and listen to Him, we have to build on the faith that we have. He speaks in ordinary ways but which aren’t obvious to those who are blind to the ways of faith. God wants us to gaze deeply despite the seeming “ordinariness” of each day. Each person we meet and each event that happens should enable us to see the hand of God. It shouldn’t matter to the faithful if that event is something positive, as it could also be negative. In the low moments of life, as faithful followers of Christ, we have to rise above the challenges and work with faith in addressing these. We do what we can, and trust that the Lord will bless our efforts with Divine approval and success.

As we observe this Second Sunday of Lent, let us work on improving how we walk our faith. Do you listen to what God is saying in the “ordinariness” of each passing day? Are you patient and persevering despite challenges coming your way? Rise above these concerns, because the Lord is with you all the way. Have faith!

From the shining cloud the Father’s voice is heard: This is my beloved Son, hear Him.” (Mt. 17: 5)

Dealing with Temptation

When saying the Lord’s Prayer, I always feel the importance of the phrase “Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Such fear is founded on the realization that we are weak and need strength and courage from the Spirit to resist temptations and avoid falling into sin. That is why we should always reserve judgment on other people as Jesus has emphasized, because we may also fall into the same situation. It is also important to realize that the evil one has also adjusted the way he lures people into sin: he allows them to be in their comfort zones, pamper them with wealth and comfort in order for them to become complacent and unmindful of others in the community who are in need of help and support. They become lukewarm, they are only concerned on their own welfare and security. “Never mind the neighbors and others, we have our own lives to live”, they say. Without realizing it you may be in such a situation. You may never know that in exchange for the comfort and seemingly safe conditions you are in, your soul is already on the verge of decay and death.

In the Gospel today (Lk. 4: 1-13), Jesus proved His strength over evil when He was able to resist all the kinds of temptations that the devil offered to Him. He uttered the famous phrases “One does not live on bread alone“, “You shall worship the Lord, your God, and Him alone shall you serve” and to prove that God reigns above all, “You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.” The Lord wants you to realize that the things the devil offered Him or will be offering you are not the most important or the most relevant in life. The evil one will be sugarcoating it with attractive options too hard for you to resist.

The Scriptures offer us a glimpse of the Spirituality that we have to develop if we are to grow in faith. We are reminded on what things matter the most and that God will provide for our material needs. In our faith response, we trust that God will be faithful (He always is) and thus we worship Him alone and no other.

The challenge though is you will find it really difficult to discern which events in life are important in your life journey and not lead you elsewhere. Just very recently a brother in the faith shared with me the struggles in his new assignment, as health and anxieties came along with it. The job may look better but there is certainly an exchange for something that he loves or cares about. Looking at it in the context of today, it may be a subtle temptation that has to be dealt with. But then again, we never know, so we have to “pray without ceasing”. He’s contemplating of leaving and as I offered prayers told him, “… God is working on it now. He’ll answer these (your) prayers.” Praying will enable you to see clearly beyond the cloudiness in the horizon.

As we observe this First Sunday of Lent, let us pray fervently the Lord’s prayer, so that the Almighty God grant us the grace to see temptation in its cunning forms. May His Spirit give us the wisdom to discern on things that matter the most, that God provides for all our needs, and He’s faithful on His promises. This should be more than enough for us to believe and trust in Him.  

One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” (Mt. 4: 4b)

Avoiding Self-Righteousness

The Gospel this Sunday (Lk. 6: 39-45) continues from the previous week where Jesus now talks about self-righteousness and humility:

Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?
How can you say to your brother,
‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’
when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye
?”

The Lord is reminding us to look at ourselves first before making judgments on others. This is because we don’t even know what’s going on with the other person’s life thus we ought to exercise self-restraint. The best thing to do is to pray for the other person’s ability to see his weakness while looking inwards to see our own shortcomings.

Looking at our own faults require humility and discernment as there are times we fail in looking at ourselves clearly that’s why we have to listen to others’ feedbacks and comments. It takes a lot of humility and courage to listen to what is being said of us. The value of family and real friends — people who only have our best interests at heart — come into focus as we engage them to be the sounding board of inner reflection. On the other hand, whenever you ignore constructive feedback and react to it negatively, you show something that tells of this pride and arrogance, as said by the prophet Sirach in the First Reading (Sir. 27: 4-7):

When a sieve is shaken, the husks appear; so do one’s faults when one speaks.”

When you choose to ignore your family and friends’ comments, you fail to acknowledge your own defects and instead show your readiness to see the defects of others. That’s what is being a hypocrite as Jesus said in today’s Word. Thus, it takes humility and courage because it also takes strength to accept and face the need to change, sometimes painfully as there is a need to imbibe new habits and even choking back your pride.

If you are spiritual and prayerful, there’s always ease in discerning what’s close to Jesus as you already feel how He would want you to handle the situation. Developing that prayerful attitude allows you to become one with nature and with God, thus in sync with what is Divine. Sometimes His message just comes from the least expected of persons: the parking lot security guard, the front desk clerk, the office cleaner and anybody you don’t notice easily. Being mindful of what’s happening around helps you to identify what nature and events are saying at that particular moment.

It isn’t easy but St. Paul in the Second Reading (1 Cor. 15: 54-58) is encouraging and reminding of God’s promise that what you’re doing for the Lord will not be useless:

Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters,
be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord,
knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain
.”

Let us pray that the Lord grant us the grace to be humble to see our own weaknesses and ask Him for courage and strength to change to become better versions of our own selves.

May the Lamb who willingly obeyed the Father bless us as we do His will here on earth.

Shine like lights in the world as you hold on to the word of life.” (Phil. 2: 15d, 16a)

Loving Unconditionally

This Sunday’s Gospel (Lk. 6: 27-38) is familiar to us as this is the very measure of what it means to be Jesus’ follower and disciple. However familiar it is, admittedly it is also one that is quite challenging to follow. The Lord wants us to reflect on this core and extraordinary teaching of loving our enemies. He wants us to look at this not as a burden but as a means to look at ourselves on how we can celebrate His love to others. He wants us to be generous in spirit; to take on an attitude of looking beyond the difficulties we suffer, ranging from insults, curses, dishonesty and maltreatment and be sensitive and hear others’ plea for help. Even in being hurt ourselves!

When we were still struggling we experience this generosity of spirit from our parents, a grandmother, uncles, aunties and friends, who reflected the infinite compassion of God in our lives. I can fondly recall some people who live in Dad’s farm come to our home and borrow money for their family’s needs. He would gladly share even though money was also tight considering five children being in school at that time. Also, I have aunties and uncles who shared generously to their nephews and nieces even when they had other needs too. In our relationships with others, we experience their sincerity and peace-loving kindness that they stay away from occasions that can breed conflicts. Just like in the First Reading (1 Sm. 26: 2, 7-9, 1-13, 22-23) David spared killing Saul out of respect for God, even if he had the opportunity to do so.

Such examples of loving generosity are still vivid as we try to emulate their examples now. We are thankful to them as they made our life experiences so blessed and worth keeping. They’ve taught us how to rise above petty quarrels and become sparks of God’s presence as we reach out to others in love. This teaching poses a challenge for us today to inspire others to be generous and loving.

Jesus further tells,

 “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven
.”

When you let love power your attitude and behavior, you will bring out the best in people around you. Not only that, God will smile at you and pour His favors upon you.


Give, and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” 

Jesus is challenging you to be generous without expecting something in return. He promises abundance to those who imitate His loving generosity.

He wants those who want to be His followers and disciples to be more like God. Being like God is to “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Being generous and loving are divine attributes borne out of mercy as God loves us beyond our expectations, beyond anything we can possibly imagine. In response, we are to love as God loves us. In doing so, you will be rewarded with abundance beyond what you can imagine.

Let us pray therefore that God bestow on us the grace so that we are able to treat others, not as they deserve, but with love, kindness and mercy. That we be blessed with the strength to forgive. For it is only in being able to forgive that we be truly healed of our own infirmities.

I give you a new commandment, says the Lord: love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn. 13: 34)

Trust in the Lord!

Being happy is one undeniable state that everyone desires. Being happy inspires others and it is something that uplifts the people around more than just being happy yourself. However, being truly happy isn’t easy to achieve. Some think that to be happy one must have wealth and earthly possessions. Yet we can read about rich and wealthy people committing suicide or having depression because they can’t handle the pressure or adulation whatever you call it. Some say that when they’ve achieved something great in their life they’ll be truly happy. Yet, when they’ve achieved it, they still find nothing but emptiness.

Fr. Armand Robleza, SDB, says that “Being happy is the firm refusal to be dragged down by the hubris of living. A happy spirit will always find something to celebrate or be thankful for. A happy person believes that life is on his side. Yes, his heart overflows with the songs of his private victories which will eventually find their echoes in the lives of others.”

More importantly as Christians, we believe that ultimately the state of happiness should be lasting (eternal) and not just here in this world (temporal).

In the Gospel (Lk. 6: 17, 20-26), Jesus says, “Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours.” St. Luke was referring to the situation of the poor as blessed since they have no other recourse but to trust in God’s provision. Come to think about it, who is better to trust to, God or man? In the First Reading (Jer. 17: 5-8) the Prophet Jeremiah says, “Cursed is the one who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the Lord.” The poor are indeed blessed because when they recognize that what they have is from God, they become humble and generous as well, having the faith that God will richly bless them if they share what little they have to others who are in need. This verse also tells that you can’t serve both man and God. Thus, a stern warning: this Gospel warns that as a consequence of not trusting God, the Lord says, “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.”

Becoming happy is not about you, it is about making others happy. Only then can you truly be happy.

Reflect on your own situation: are you generous to the poor in your community? Are you helpful in your own parish whenever asked to help? Do you sacrifice from the little you have to provide for those who have even less?

Let us pray therefore that in all that we do, in all the situations and challenges we are in, we will be always grateful and giving, fully abiding and trusting in the Lord.

Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.” (Ps. 40: 5a)

[If you want to understand happiness and real joy, join the next run of the Code of Champions!]

Here I Am Lord!

There are moments in our service to our communities that we become so tired and weary that we want to give up feeling frustrated and spent. Especially when the results are far away from our desired outcomes, we want to veer away from reality and fly out of it all, trying to escape the disappointments and failures.

My daughter Alexa plays the piano so well that we look forward to listening her play at home. Yet, we’ve observed that the moments she does it are times when she’s expressing herself — and the best music comes out naturally. As an artist, I sketch and draw but these are also mood dependent, the timing simply has to be there so that I can focus on it and get better results. You don’t do it just anytime, there’s what you call the perfect moment in doing the things you love to do.

In the Gospel (Lk. 5: 1-11), “the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, Jesus asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.”

Simon must have been so tired already but the words of Jesus was powerful enough to persuade him to follow the Lord. As a fisherman who knows his work well, Simon knows it may just be a waste of time, but the Lord’s command is just so hard to resist especially that Jesus has worked wonders and miracles. True enough, “When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing.”

Thus, the Lord is assuring He is behind you in all that you do especially when you are in the service of His people. The “deep water” that Jesus mentioned here is significant. In the turbulent and stormy times that the Church is in, you have to recognize that you have to follow the call of the Lord as you have a role to do. In your Parish you may be a youth coordinator or volunteer, or a reader/commentator, an altar server, a Eucharistic minister, a Mother Butler guild member, etc. it really doesn’t matter what your service is or what others may think. You may say that what you are doing is insignificant, but don’t worry, the Lord is not after the grand things, He is after obedience and humility in serving Him.

Even St. Paul felt that way when he said in the Second Reading (1 Cor. 15: 1-11) “For I am the least of the apostles, not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective.”

Today, reflect on the service that the Lord has given you to do. Feel and hear as in the First Reading (Is. 6: 1-2a, 3-8) the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I sendWho will go for us?” Gently follow His command and say “Here I am, send me!” And you’ll be amazed at the bountiful harvest that is forthcoming.  

Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mt. 4: 9)

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