Monday, May 30, 2016

The joy of providence

Ceaselessly does our Holy Father Pope Francis call upon us to be joyful in all life’s circumstances, and recently ‘On Love in the Family’ which he calls “The Joy of Love” – title of his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, written two years after the Synod on the Family.  In the document, the pope encourages all to learn to be joyful, to simply enjoy each moment, because everything is part of God’s loving care for us.  God’s loving care for us, His creation, is called Divine Providence.  Yes and truly God provides a solution for those needs of ours which are real, not just capricious.  But He does expect us to believe and trust in Him.  So let’s not forget that essential element of our belief and trust in Him.

In fact that is even expressed in the gospels, as follows: “I tell you solemnly if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Get up and throw yourself into the sea,’ with no hesitation in his heart but believing that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.  I tell you therefore everything you ask and pray for, believe that you have it already, and it will be yours.  And when you stand in prayer, forgive whatever you have against anybody, so that your Father in heaven may forgive your failings too” (Mk. 11:22-25).

No matter our age and station in life, we shall face the challenge to keep growing in the prayerful trust and compassion shown us by Jesus, whose heart is the greatest sign of Divine Love. Let joy continue emanate from our hearts as we listen to His assuring words in moments of darkness and human weakness: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart” (Mt. 11:28-29). 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A God who cares

Salvation history is a narration of the myriad ways God manifested His sublime paternal care for the people He created to the point of sending His only Son to redeem man from sin and show the true way to the Home where Jesus has prepared a room for each one of us—in Heaven (Jn. 14:2).  The Father’s care in Jesus is never-ending, as we experience each time we celebrate the Eucharist and ‘see and taste’ the living Body and Blood of our Savior that is our nourishment-guarantee to Eternal Life (cf. Jn. 6:53-54).  Let us profusely thank this God who cares for the gift of the Living Bread of His Son on the feast of Corpus Christi’. If we could only FEEL the heart of Jesus throbbing with LOVE to give / giving His All to us, always and FOREVER.  This love in us is also the presence of the Blessed Trinity that makes our lives fruitful.

It is now our turn to care.  As God cares, so do we, as our own thanks to this All-giving Father.  We have to thank God for His care over us.  He has placed many people in our way to guide us, to care for us, namely our parents, our friends, acquaintances, mentors, and models.  As it is “more fulfilling to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35), we too should care for those who come in our way.  God’s providence has seen it so that we could also take care of them.  Remember Jesus says: “The measure you extend to others is the very same measure that shall come back to you overflowing” (Lk. 6:36).  Others need us.  Out of gratitude to God from whom all good things come, we too should extend our goodness and sincere care to them. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Amazing hope!

    The result of the recent presidential elections indeed reveals, with shocking amazement, the Filipino people’s trust and hope in a down-to-earth president who is incredibly fearless to face any battle to wipe out crime and restore peace and order and a future for the needed growth and development of the entire.  A Mindanao mayor who becomes president is evident of the people’s faith in a man who is simply true to himself and has shown transforming results in his own bailiwick. This also throws the limelight on leadership coming from the southern end of the country that apparently aspires for recognition and the opportunity to bring about change for the better, especially for the advantage of the underprivileged citizens that populate the ‘Island of promise.’

    No one knows the future for certainty but God, whose loving providence works mysteriously in response to our prayers.  The president-elect may be the person the country needs at this time of transition, and, as Archbishop Socrates Villegas wrote in his pastoral letter, we exercise a vigilant cooperation in respect for the decision cast by our fellow countrymen. 

    Let continued prayers for national and local leadership sustain our trust and readiness to cooperate so that we all journey with a common vision and prayerfully continue the quest for eternal truth and happiness amidst earth’s transiency.  Let us pray that Jesus the Good Shepherd be the model of our new president and that he be filled with the blazing fire of the Pentecost Spirit and see himself as a God-sent instrument to care for the sheep gone astray.  A good shepherd ‘knows the smell of his sheep and is ready to sacrifice his life’ (Jn. 10:1-16).  May our prayers enlighten our leaders to be authentic seekers of true freedom and human dignity, so that joyfully, we can acclaim: “When you send forth your Spirit, they are created” (Ps. 104:30).

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A listening presence

We acknowledge the myriad blessings from above, including the elections that have just passed and given us hopes of new and honest leadership; and in our environment, the showers of rain on our dry land that has revived dying crops and restored hope and confidence that God indeed listens to our crying needs.  The coming of the Spirit this Pentecost Sunday also awakens us to the challenge of continuing Jesus’ legacy of ongoing evangelization and to the ever-living presence of a God in touch with His people, His redeemed children in Christ.

As our Philippine Church continues the ‘journey wake’ to the Year 2021 ‘Missio ad gentes’ the focus especially on this year of the Family is that families remain the seed-bed of evangelization, and parents and children listen to each other. The listening gesture will generate towards a healthy spirit of dialogue that will steadily expand into the outer, larger community being served.  Many Filipino missionaries were born from mission-conscious families where parents have sown the seed of a ‘Christified’ spirituality that seeks to sacrifice the self for the sake of service.

This will also serve as preparation for the Year 2020 of Ecumenism and Inter-Religious Dialogue.  Dialogue will call for a spirit of ready listening, first to the God of love in prayer and to different members of society in inter-actions towards building community and strengthening solidarity in the struggle for social change, unity in healing social ills, integrity and social justice in our land.  A dialogue has also to put on the atmosphere of patience and put aside all biases and prejudices as Jesus made that a consistent rule: “Judge not and you will not be judged; because the judgments you give are the judgements you will get” (Mt. 7:1-2), but the greatest of them all is love (1 Cor. 13:13).