One of the most beautiful traits a Christian should have is the capacity to share oneself. In itself, sharing is a manifestation of love, an expression of one’s godliness. Even people we label as “bad” also have the capacity to share. The only thing that probably separates “authentic” from “by-name-only” Christians is the capacity to share even to those who are not relatives, not friends, but even those considered as “enemies”. When one becomes more mature in his faith, his authenticity tends to show itself all the more. He tries and outwardly manifests love, and sees the soul rather than just the physical body of the other person. Thus, mercy and compassion become more prevalent, even when one is hurt and in pain. He is more concerned with helping others. To him, it is more than just serving and sharing one’s self. To him, it is about seeing Jesus in the other person. It is about obedience to the Lord who came not to be served, but “…to serve — to give his life in ransom for the many ”. (Mk. 10: 45)
This Sunday, the Church commemorated the Solemnity of the Ascension of our Lord. A great event in the Church, the Ascension is one of the five major milestones in the Gospel narrative of the life of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the others being baptism, transfiguration, crucifixion, and resurrection.
And Jesus came forward and addressed them in these words, “Full authority has been given to me both in heaven and on earth; go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to carry out everything that I have commanded you. And know that I am with you always, until the end of the world.” (Mt. 28: 18 – 20)
Jesus instructed his apostles to carry on the mission and share it with the rest of the world. He didn’t ask them to keep the Gospel messages to themselves, but he asked them to share it.
Last Saturday, we commemorated another great feast in the Church, which is in itself is a showcase of a life of love and dedication to service: the Feast of the Visitation, when Mary, the mother of Jesus, went to visit her cousin Elizabeth. Even if the Blessed Mother was already pregnant, she still took the pain of traveling more than a hundred kilometers over mountains and hills in order to serve her older cousin, who was having a difficult pregnancy. She was doing this just like what Jesus would do later in life: serving others who need help. Our Mother is modeling how we should be, and telling us that witnessing to Jesus is when we bring his love and compassion to others.
Knowingly or unknowingly, when we dedicate our lives to helping others in need, we witness Jesus to the world. Let us continue to ponder on St. John’s Gospel about becoming witnesses,
“You will bear witness as well, for you have been with me from the beginning.” (Jn. 15: 27)
Jesus also tells the apostles about their sadness because he will be gone from them, and yet,
“…your grief will be turned into joy. “ (Jn. 16: 20)
He was preparing them for the sadness that they will experience at the Crucifixion, but also ensuring them the joy of reunion at the Resurrection.
We also experience this in our own way of the Cross. Especially when we are in God’s service. We sometimes feel alone and deserted. But if we hang on in faith, we unite our sufferings with Jesus, who did it out of love to a world that abandoned him.
“In the same way you are sad for a time, but I shall see you again; then your hearts will rejoice with a joy that no one can take away from you.“ (Jn. 16: 22)
Our Lord is speaking about the difficulties of service. However, if we persevere, our faithfulness to Jesus will create in us a new life, full of vigor in love and in faith. Let us take this to heart and experience the inner peace that only Jesus can give.
Champions celebrate and share their life with others. Alone, it does not make sense.