Take the Lowest Place!

How do you respond to an invitation? Invitations sent to us come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. When we are invited, the most common initial reaction is to worry about what to wear during the event. Indeed, when I was invited to be a conference speaker, admittedly the first thought that came to mind was how I should look like. A few moments though, the topic content was thought when the idea began to sink in. Regardless, an invitation is not a command, rather it is a choice. We always have the option to decline or accept the invitation. Our Lord Jesus said that “…when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, ‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’ (Lk. 14: 10) It is embarrassing when one takes the high position when in fact it is reserved for another person higher. Some may do it out of habit, but the Lord’s advice is to take the load less travelled. God wants us to clothe ourselves with humility. In the First Reading, the Prophet Sirach said, “Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God.” (Sir. 3: 18)

More than humility, the readings also take a look at the invitation. Throughout our lives, Jesus never ceases to invite us to have a relationship with Him. It doesn’t end there, He further proposes a deeper and closer relationship with Him. It may be easy to assume that we are close to Jesus, and so we sometimes take on some arrogance without being aware of it. Unlike the invited guests in the Gospel, we have to realize that Jesus’ call is for a more intimate relationship with Him. Usually, when responding to Jesus’ call, we always take the farthest spot. What Jesus wants is for us to move closer to Him. It is possible that we always prefer to be ordinary but in our relationship with Him, we have to respond. We have to filter the noise of everyday worries and concerns to listen clearly to Jesus.

From the point of view of the host, Jesus said, “… when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.” (Lk. 14: 13-14) As I was reflecting on this, we are reminded that this also applies to us especially those who are taking care of differently-abled children, aging parents, and as well as the poor and the lowly. Nothing beats that kind of humble service that expects nothing in return, regardless of the cost. We shouldn’t worry as the Lord assures us that He will take care of our needs when we are doing His work here on earth.

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves .” (Mt. 11: 29-30)

Feeling Grateful

Thank you to my company for giving us this kind of seminar. The “Code of Champions” touched my life and my soul

Kristina Pimentel

It awakened my drive to strive harder and stay focused towards work

Noeme M. Baylon

I will start to balance my life and live my life to the fullest. No words can explain the details i learned today, it will forever stay not only in my mind but also in my heart

Jenevie Dumaguin

Happy to be part of Wacoal, i had the opportunity to attend this seminar

Lorianne O. Jersey

Fix Our Eyes on Jesus!

Living faith is one that is vibrant and passionate. It gives us excitement and enthusiasm, and we become more aware of God’s presence in our lives. We become aware of others beyond ourselves. We become more receptive of serving others.

Discipleship leads us to be passionate about our faith, and heightens our life with love, service and charity towards the last and the least.

This Sunday’s Gospel reading talks about division in the sense that not everyone will agree with discipleship. Many will not accept God’s message — even our own families. I recall a corporate executive lament the fact that while he is a faithful pastor in his church, not all in his family share the faith, or even half of it. This may lead us to struggle heavily and will demand our resilience. Yes, discipleship is a costly commitment. However, fixing our eyes on Jesus will surely lead us to fullness of our lives and eventually eternal happiness. Even in the midst of struggles against evil, it should bring out more fire in us. We should remember that the Lord’s Word is more powerful than all the powers combined.

It is worth the effort. It is worth our life.
“My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me.” Jn. 10: 27.

Go and Proclaim the Good News!

This past week was quite busy and toxic, but nevertheless everything just fell into place. Schedules were tight and narrow, decisions have to be made in precise moments, in all these the Lord guided me every step of the way.

The 2016 Grand Alumni Homecoming which happened last week at the University of San Carlos was a pretty well-attended affair, with prominent alumni personalities in school and in global society joined. To kick-off the homecoming, together with several other alumni, we were given a speaking role in the Conference with the Engineering and Chemistry students at the Rigney Hall after a sumptuous lunch held at the Alumni Office in the sprawling, still-growing Talamban Campus. Alumni from all over the world gathered and in every occasion, gave praise to the Lord for bringing us together again, and for creating us to where we are now, after many years of separation from our Alma Mater. Just like the First Reading in today’s Sunday readings, the alumni who gathered to share their experiences all acknowledged the Lord’s role in our respective lives. After school, most of us in one way or the other actually became witnesses to the Word, as charged to us by our S.V.D. mentors. It is humbling to hear how successful alumni struggled in the early years, but the Lord’s steadfast kindness and fidelity has been enduring. (Ps. 117: 1-2)

Back home, what a delight that the week ended with the celebration of forty years of the Holy Family Parish in Kapitolyo, with the Bishop of the Diocese of Pasig, His Excellency, Most Reverend Mylo Hubert Vergara, concelebrating with several other priests, aside from our own Parish Priest. “In its relevant forty years of existence, Holy Family came to gather us together, and proclaim the Good News” (Bishop Mylo and family reside in Kapitolyo and his mother is still very active in the Parish).

“Strive to enter the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough”. Lk. 13: 24

Many may not have enough strength and fortitude to persevere in facing the challenges along the way. Thus, we have to be prayerful, stay away from evil, and continue doing good to others. Even as we fall, due to our frail nature arising from original sin, we should strive to get up again, every time, and seek forgiveness from the Lord.

One has to endeavor to be strong and formidable to endure trials and sufferings that we may face. We also need to clothe ourselves with humility as the Lord has warned,

“For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” Lk. 13: 30

Life is short. Heaven is eternal. Let’s get our priorities straight.

“Go out to all the world and tell the Good News!” Mk. 16: 15

Walk on without regrets

Like the silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz said: “Ginawa ko yung best para sa country”. We all want to be champions. It starts with harnessing our passion for something bigger than the self. Walk ahead without regrets. Be determined and develop the habits for a fulfilled and meaningful life.

Jesus, Guide Us to You

Our Lord is telling us it is important to define and act on our priorities in life. In knowing the things that matter, Jesus pointed out we should look for the treasures that are eternal and permanent and that we should guard against accumulating wealth that wears out. He warns us that when the temporal things are what we consider treasures, these are also the ones that occupy our hearts and minds. We then lose focus on the things Heavenly and eternal.

When we lose focus, we also lose the opportunities of the present. Eventually, we’ll lose grasp of precious moments. Time is a gift and we actually never know how much time we have to do good and share with our loved ones and fellowmen.

Therefore it is important that we should focus on the moment. We shouldn’t lose the opportunities that God is giving us. Anything that we can do now, we should attend to it with a sense of urgency. Don’t postpone doing as the chance may not happen again. We shouldn’t procrastinate until tomorrow because tomorrow has its own set of opportunities and challenges. Time is a gift. Time is precious.
We shouldn’t worry about the past and we shouldn’t be anxious about the future. When we worry about the past, we again lose time on things that can’t be undone. Worrying about the future is still losing the present moment which would be better spent attending to the opportunities and issues of the moment.
When life seems chaotic, the failure to sit back and reflect can set aside the more important things as our brains are programmed to address those we can solve the quickest. Unfortunately, these may not be the real priorities of now. The more important matters which have the longer effect on our lives are scrapped to the sidelines, at the expense of our personal and family life.

Praying and meditating each day to discern what matters most is a powerful way of ensuring we are ready each day. It can help bring order to chaos, and reduce the risk of letting our minds run our lives on auto-pilot and thus dim our chances of taking control of our lives. Praying can help us focus on things that really matter, as well as provide a calm and steady assurance of Divine Guidance in the face of overwhelming demands on our attention. Most of all, it’ll help us be ready when the Son of Man will come, when He will ask us to account of how we managed the talents He has entrusted to us.
“Stay awake and be ready! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.” Mt. 24: 42.