Monday, April 11, 2016

Well-informed vigilance

Joining public gatherings such as demonstrations and rallies may be beneficial or disastrous depending on the intent of the organizers.  As a general rule, one must search for the truth and not aimlessly jump into the fire, which may result to damage or injury instead of resolving the issue at hand.  There is always wisdom in asking questions to dispel ignorance of certain matters, especially when attractive words and promises are made, or perhaps threats and harassments are attempted, but facts are wanting.  No well-intentioned person or follower of the Good Shepherd wants to be deluded by “wild wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Mt. 7:15)and so he/she must constantly listen to and discern the teachings of the Master Teacher who also speaks through the apostolic leaders of the Church.  This is the call for vigilance for all, indicating the need for responsible leadership to stick to facts and conduct objective surveys and consultations, relaying genuine results for people to choose for their own good.  The sheep will verify the reality for themselves, and recognize the voice of the true shepherd. “My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).

May innocent/lost lives and misled adherents be guarded from false prophets, and may the latter learn to adhere to the voice of Him who said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6).  Humanity continues to yearn for peace.  No one can talk peace if there is no basic respect for all, respect for human rights—whatever be the age, color, culture, position or social status of a person.  In this way one lives in fraternity and recognizes each person as a child of God.  As Pope Francis wrote in his message for world Day of Peace, January 1, 2014, “In God’s family, where all are sons and daughters of the same Father…there are no ‘disposable lives.’  All men and women enjoy an equal and inviolable dignity. All are loved by God.  All have been redeemed by the blood of Christ…This is the reason why no one can remain indifferent before the lot of our brothers and sisters.” Thus may we continue to serve with love and mercy, and share our goods with the needy.  And whatever be the situation we face, the answer is to sincerely act in faith, and to declare in the words of St. Peter: “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:69)

Monday, April 4, 2016

Heroic intimacy

“It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless” (John 6:63).  It is possible to acquire the courageous tenacity of St. Peter and the apostles by the creative power of the Spirit within us, helping us to focus on the heroic following of Jesus our Redeemer and Model.  It was the Spirit sent by Jesus who miraculously transformed the timid, fearful apostles to courageous proclaimers and witnesses of the Good News of the Risen Lord.

As baptized and confirmed Catholics, we are wont to witness to the mission of our Redeemer who showed us His unconditional Love beyond measure, to the shedding of His Blood as sacrifice in payment for our sins, to win for us eternal life.  As the disciples drew closer to Him, we can also grow in intimacy with this Greatest Lover of humanity by surrendering to him our ‘all’ just as popular songs nowadays put it in words of exchange like ‘you give your all to me; I give my all to you’ but of course we mean God as ‘you’.  For God is love and he who lives in love is in God, and God in him (1 John 4:16).

 ‘Love conquers all’ as a saying goes. A heart that truly loves and has given one’s all to Jesus, follows the Lord day by day, sharing the joy of this love by word and the witness of one’s daily life.  When confronted with worldly opposition, we shall be driven by the Spirit to keep on courageously, armed with God’s love in our hearts, ready to face and conquer the demon of darkness.  Then, like St. Peter and the apostles who withstood the threatening interrogations and orders of the Sanhedrin to stop using the name of Jesus, we too shall boldly declare: “Better for us to obey God than men” (Acts 5:28).