Friday, August 28, 2009

Elusive Peace

Why does peace elude us? Maybe our own feeble efforts are not enough. There is a time, as in past times, that we have to invoke help from above, and in all humility admit to God that without His grace and intervention we can do nothing to solve the impasse of unpeace. What, therefore, does God want us to do?

If Jesus, God's Almighty Son had said "set your hearts on his Kingdom first, and on his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" (Mt. 6:33-34). Yes, here and now (no worrying of future minutes, hours or tomorrows), call upon the Lord of history and His saints to intercede for us, as we interiorly decide to do His will everyday, every time. As Jesus used to answer people seeking for the solution in a dead end of human problems-- "For man this is impossible; for God everything is possible" (Mt. 19:26; Lk. 1:37). If peace is that elusive to us, let's call upon the almighty hand of God, through His Son Jesus Christ who for us is "the Way, the Truth and the Life" (Jn. 14:6). Jesus is the Way: in him we have our access to the Father; he makes the Father known to the world, he is the Truth: he is the teacher and the personification of worship "in spirit and truth" which alone pleases the Father (cf. Jn. 4:23-24); he is the Life: to know the Father, present in the Son, in eternal life (cf. Jn. 17:3).

Both in word and deed let us follow the Savior of the world, Jesus the Messiah. His way of universal love (cf. Mt. 5:38-48) is the only road map to peace.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Seeking the Truth

Being true or sincere to oneself is what is essential in our quest for the truth. Many or most people claim they possess or tell the truth. We know that can't always be the case since there are many contradictory statements. Each and everyone must be responsible in pursuing the truth, considering that the devil and his agents keep on spreading lies in the world so as to lead people astray by presenting evil under the guise of good, so as to deceive God's people. You know they want to bring as many as possible to hell (see the parable of the good seed and the bad seed in Mt.13:24-30).

Let us hear from the saints why it is so important to be sincere and persevering in our quest for the truth. St. Edith Stein, for example, a Jewish convert to Catholicism who became a Carmelite nun, has this to say: "He who seeks the truth, seeks God, whether he is aware of it or not." St. Augustine who talks about two cities on earth, the city of God and the earthly city, has this to say: "Anybody who is wholly dedicated to the pursuit of truth and moral virtue is implicitly a citizen of the city of God, anybody who abandons virtue for vice is ipso facto excluded from it." Jesus shows how important it is to learn and live the truth as He said: "If you make my word your house you will indeed be my disciples, you will learn the truth and the truth will make you free" (Jn. 8:32).

Think of those words and decide this very minute to seek the truth and be free to follow the truth. Even St. Teresa had commented that you just don't believe anybody but rather believe those who practice the good that they preach. That's why Jesus criticized the Pharisees and experts of the law in His time because they lived only for external show (hypocrisy), but inwardly or privately did not practice what they asked others to do (see Mt. 23:1-39) As we mention here 2 cities, it would be good to remember the infallible words of Jesus and why it is so important for happiness and peace of heart to follow the way of obedience, humility and sacrifice. "Enter by the narrow gate, since the road that leads to perdition is wide and spacious, and many use it: but it is a narrow gate and hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it" (Mt. 7:13; Lk. 13:24).

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Unity, not Division

When we consider all those lives lost in past conflicts, wars and bombings, we can surely assume it was not worth all the trouble. You can barely pay for the value of one life, how much more for the multiple lives lost. We need more patience and learn to develop love and unity.

It's true these negative ideas (or ideologies) of hate and division have crept surreptitiously into our world, throughout various sectors, sometimes under the guise of reform. Without knowing it, even religious sectors can be carried away, if their religiosity be not deep enough. Hence, the need for prayers and much meditation and humility. "Let anyone who thinks he is standing upright watch out lest he fall" (1 Cor. 10:12).

God has provided us a model and leader for this modern age, Chiara Lubich, a humble woman of Trent, Italy, who founded the Focolare movement to spread worldwide the principles of love and unity. We may take for granted her main tenets, yet they are basic.

Here, for example: God is love, to love all persons, to be the first to love (re- make the first step), to love the other as oneself, to make oneself one with the other, to love Jesus in everyone, to develop mutual love (reciprocal), where there is unity Jesus is present there. "I tell you solemnly once again, if two of you agree to ask anything at all, it will be granted by my Father in heaven. For where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them" (Mt. 18:19). The very testament of Jesus is universal love. (Please see: Mt. 5: 38-48). Yes, amidst all negativism, let's be positive and do something in prayer, thought and concrete actions of love and unity. "Do all you can to live at peace with everyone" (Rom. 12:18).

Friday, August 21, 2009

Gospel of Salvation

The gospel of salvation outlines what each of us has to do to reach our eternal reward, the goal of happiness with God. It is of course, centered on the Son of God who became man for our sake and He is the way, the truth and the life (Jn. 14:6). As He Himself had said: "No one can come to the Father except through me" (Jn. 14:6). He is the living Word giving us a concrete road to salvation. We know His example speaks louder than mere words.

If we truly, sincerely repent and approach Him by prayer and the sacraments, Jesus grants us mercy, grace and forgiveness. So in the Bible or God's word (Good News) we find a place or blueprint about what we are to do in order to reach the goal of life, which is eternal life in the next world. As you know well, man's life on earth is like a passing trial or testing ground of our fidelity to God. As at the end of the Our Father we say: "do not put us to the test, but save us from the evil one" (Mt. 6:13).

"For I am not ashamed at all of this Good News; it is God's power saving those who believe, first the Jews, and then the Greeks.Good News shows us how God makes people upright through faith for the life of faith, as the Scripture says: The upright one by faith shall live" (Rom. 1:16-17).