Staying Focused

Everyday we encounter hundreds of small chances to please our friends , delight The Lord and encourage our family . The Choices that we make entails sacrifices. As far as the spirit can carry you, welcome the pain and let it strengthen you.

Always in Control

Just before last week ended, one of the members of my team asked clearance to go on leave to attend to the death of two cousins, one of heart attack, and the other of cancer. Their family was also careful not to easily break the news to the other elders as several of them in the family are in delicate conditions too. My reaction was one of sadness and sympathy for them and since my teammate looked like prepared for the role of the “strong cousin and nephew”, I assured him that God is not asleep, and that anyway, offer these moments of sorrow for the forgiveness of sins of the departed members of their family. And I told him to “be strong, be prayerful, for your elders”.


When the apostles met a storm and were sinking, Jesus ordered the storm to calm down and it obeyed “Quiet now! Be still!” (Mk. 4: 39) They were thus terrified and said to one another, “Who can this be? Even the wind and the sea obey Him.” The experience was one of awe in the saving power of Jesus over the sea and thus revealing He is God!


The apostles knew from their Jewish faith that only Yahweh God has power over nature. In the First Reading, the Lord proclaimed to Job, “Thus far shall you come but no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stifled!” In the Old Testament readings, God always has this image of being capable of taming storms and that even Nature obeys Him.


As we journey through this earthly life, we encounter a mix of experiences, and its impact on our lives depends on how we look at it. At times we may find it challenging, on other occasions we find it enjoyable and fun. More often than not, some of us just come to God whenever difficulties are being experienced and ask, “Where are you Lord?” He seems to be away and silent. But one who has deep faith in Christ does not come to Him only when things go wrong. He is always connected with the Source of Power. As such, let us remember that Jesus is with us, even when He seems to be asleep. The beautiful part of it is that when we’re engaged with life, we are always looking at challenges and oppressions in a positive perspective, no matter the conditions. Fr. Arman said that as champions you have to “know what you stand for; then you will know how to live”.


The next time a storm comes your way, don’t be anxious and sad. Instead, be confident and believe: God is always in control.


Pain is always beyond our control but we integrate its meaning to shape us to fulfill what needs to be done. Prayer gives us the strength to overcome our suffering. Through prayer, we discover the power in us awaiting to be tapped. The pain we go through becomes blessings which we accept as part of the grand production in our lives.


Spread the wisdom of the Code of Champions because it stimulates and ignites people’s enthusiasm. The seminar motivates us to be an inspiration to the people around us. Especially us working in public service, we should put into actions the learning that we got from this seminar.

Lourdes Torio, PNP-PIO

Heavenly Things

The beauty of being a Christian is that aside from being alive and present, our Lord and Savior is always inviting us to listen to Him. He always provides us with opportunities for learning and growth in our love for Heavenly things. In the Gospel, the Lord spoke about the similarity of the Kingdom of God with the mustard seed: after it is planted, it grows, until in time it “becomes the largest of the plants in the garden, and grows branches so big, that the birds of the air can take shelter in its shade.” (Mk. 4: 32). This describes the way how the Kingdom of God develops in each of us and in the world. When first heard, the Word of God, isn’t spectacular, nor is it noisy, it just grows and produces fruit as it makes us new. God is so loving, that He has continued planting human mustard seeds all the way to the end. Most importantly, Jesus showed the example: he started small in a lowly manger and grew up under poor but loving parents Joseph and Mary. This family was so poor that one could think how come God could allow that to happen! They encountered all forms of challenges, from poverty, to Herod during Jesus infancy, to the chief priests, all the way to the Cross. Despite those trials and oppressions, Jesus managed to love one and all unconditionally and leave behind a legacy that is compelling, timeless and universal. He truly became a “magnificent tree” where all humanity can take shelter and refuge.


To become a useful mustard tree in God’s own garden, what is important is for us to listen to the Word. Just like the tiny mustard seed, each of us has our own mission in life. We were created for a purpose. As long as we listen, in spite of the challenges and opposing forces, the Kingdom of God grows steadily in our hearts. It continues to nourish and inspire us to do what is good and inspiring. We cannot be selective in the stuff that we do especially that we sometimes disregard small things and go for the big ones instead. Here we are reminded that we have to take the cloak of humility and look at ourselves as small seeds that will have to die, in order to grow the big tree that is the Kingdom of God. Each of us will have to be planted, grown and harvested in the end.


What are your gifts to others, starting with your family, and then eventually friends and community, and whoever God sends your way? Are you already aware of the gifts that God has given you? If you have reach bigness, God wants you to provide shade to others, just like the mustard plant. If you haven’t understood yet your mission, you must go through a process of discernment to know God’s will for your life, through a spiritual guide that is carefully chosen. This process will enable you to appreciate how much you are a part of God’s Kingdom. Else, the opposite kingdom will get you, as what Fr. Tanseco, S.J. said.

St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians connects with this theme as it describes the end of our lives when we have “to appear before the tribunal of Christ for each one to receive what he deserves for his good or evil deeds in this present life”. St. Paul exhorts us to live by faith, and to “think that we would rather be away from the body to go and live with the Lord”. (2 Cor. 5: 6-10) Yes, after growing deeply in faith, we already know how it’ll be in the end. Our lives then become an offering to the Lord. We won’t think of our own anymore; what is important is how all that we are fit into the plan of the Divine. We become selfless. We become conscious that whoever saves his life will lose it.


Yes, we are all important in the Kingdom of God. Like the mustard seed, we have to grow and spread our branches to give shade to others. In a way, Fr. Armand said it aptly, that as Champions, we have “to inspire others with the passions that matter to them. The operative word is passion, the enabling word is meekness, the indicative word is inspiration”.

Thank you Jesus, for Being Real and Alive!

In our generation, the weekend trip to the mall is almost always a must. Even if we don’t plan to shop or buy anything, we like to go there in order to unwind, or to re-charge from the hectic week gone past. We like the way the sights in the various shops entice our eyes to buy or to get the items shown. We like the way they invite us with taglines like “we’ve got it all for you”. We think the stuff they sell give us joy and happiness. However, when we go back to our homes, we are again faced with the reality that the world’s meaning of joy and happiness is temporal and fleeting.


The celebrant in this week’s Sunday Mass said that, “this generation is a TGIF generation”. Not the “Thank God it’s Friday” thing, but the “Twitter, Google, Instagram, and the Facebook” of cyberspace. Indeed! Check around your friends and you’d notice that almost everyone has his or her own account in the virtual world. Walk around and chances are you’d see people engaging their time online, rather than spend time connecting with family and close friends. I remember seeing a picture of a family seated in a dining table, while each of them were attending to their own gadgets. No one seemed to be talking to another in the family, as they all appeared to be so engrossed in reading or watching the screen on their accessories. What is happening here?


Also, it’s an observation that some have as many as a thousand friends in Facebook and yet we also ask, “Are these a thousand friends or so, real friends?” Except for a few real friends in there, are all the rest just as virtual as Facebook itself? How many of your Facebook “friends” are really friends whom you can count on to be there for you?


This Sunday we celebrated the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, or Corpus Christi. Unlike the material things that are in this world, or the virtual “TGIF”; our Lord Jesus Christ is real and present. Every time we attend Mass, we are witnesses to Jesus’ loving presence in the Holy Eucharist. Each time we ask Jesus to help us, He is there for us. Present in every Mass, present in every prayer, present in every moment of our lives. He is the silent listener to our conversations. Isn’t it amazing to see families spend time each Sunday to hear Mass? As Fr. Armand quoted John Updike who said, “All church services have this wonderful element: people with a lot of other things to do, get up on a Sunday morning, put on good clothes, and assemble out of nothing but faith — some vague yen for something larger. Simply as a human gathering, I find it moving, reassuring, and even inspiring. A church is a little like a novel in that both are saying there’s something very important about being human.


As we reflect on the Body and Blood of Our Lord, let us remember that whenever we attend Mass, we proclaim His real presence in the Holy Eucharist. And lest we forget: In life, we can’t find meaning and fulfillment outside of Jesus.