4th Sunday in OT-C – January 30, 2022

COMMITMENT DESPITE FAILURES AND REJECTION

REJECTED PEOPLE

  1. Chester Carlson: Xerox. “ Who wants to copy a document on plain paper?” This was included in one of the 20 rejection letters Chester Carlson received for his invention—the Xerox machine. After six years of rejections, the Haloid Company bought his idea in 1944. The first copier was sold in 1950, and Carlson made over $150 million in his lifetime.
  2. Debbie Fields: Mrs. Fields. “A cookie store is a bad idea. America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make.” Debbi Fields ignored this investor’s advice and started Mrs. Fields’ Cookies in 1977. There are now more than 400 of her cookie stands around the world.
  3. The Beatles. “We don’t like their sound and guitar music is on the way out.” Dick Rowe of the British music label Decca Records said this in 1962 to a young rock group. The group signed with EMI Records instead. The band?
  4. Anne Frank: The Diary. “The girl doesn’t have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the ‘curiosity’ level.” A book editor said that about The Diary of Anne Frank. Since 1952, the book has sold 25 million copies and has been trans­lated into 60 languages.
  5. Felix Hoffman: Bayer Aspirin. “The product is worthless.” Bayer pharmaceuticals’ 1897 rejection of Felix Hoffman‘s formula for aspirin. (They eventually accepted it in 1899.)
  6. Dr. Seuss. “Too different from other juvenile titles on the market to warrant its selling.” One book publisher said this in 1937 about And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, the first children’s book by Dr. Seuss. In fact, 27 publishers rejected it before Vanguard Press accepted. Dr. Seuss went on to write over 40 children’s books that sold nearly half a billion copies.
  7. W. Shakespeare. “The most insipid, ridiculous play that I ever saw in my life.” Member of Parliament Samuel Pepys wrote this diary entry after seeing William Shakespeare‘s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1662.
  8. Stephen King. “We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative Utopias. They do not sell.” This was said to Stephen King in the early 1970s about his first novel, Carrie. The book went on to become the first of dozens of bestsellers for King, the top-selling horror author of all time.
  9. Fred Astaire. “Balding, skinny, can dance a little.” Paramount Pictures made this assessment after an early audi­tion by Fred Astaire. He signed with RKO Studios instead.
  10. Ludwig van Beethoven.”Hopeless.” A music teacher’s opinion of his student’s composing ability. The student: Beethoven.
  11. Michael Jordan. “Cut from the high school basketball team…” He went home, locked himself in his room, and cried.
  12. Thomas Edison. “Too stupid to learn anything” a teacher told him he was too stupid to learn anything, and he should go into a field where he might succeed, by virtue of his pleasant personality.
  13. Walt Disney. “Lacking imagination” Fired from a news paper because he lacked imagination and had no original ideas.

If you gave up every time you failed, you’d never succeed. These people got rejected, but they didn’t give up—and the rest of us benefited.

COMMITMENT TRUTHS

1. Commitment Starts in the Heart.* It is said that in Kentucky Derby, the winning horse effectively runs out of oxygen after the first half mile, and he goes the rest of the way on heart. Christians who make a difference in other people’s lives have committed hearts, hearts entirely dedicated to God and His will. (The Kentucky Derby is a Grade I stakes race for three year-old Thoroughbred horses, held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, United States.)

2.  Commitment Is Tested by Action. It’s one thing to talk about commitment. It’s another to do something about it. The only real measure of  commitment is action. Arthur Gordon acknowledged, “Nothing is easier than saying words. Nothing is harder than living them day after day.”

3.  Commitment Opens the Door to Empowerment. As a Christian, you will face plenty of obstacles and opposition—if you don’t already. And there will be times when commitment is the only thing that carries you forward. Commitment is the enemy of resistance, for it is the serious promise to press on, to get up, no matter how many times you are knocked down.

(*Excerpts from The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader, John C. Maxwell)

COMMITMENT STEPS vs. FAILURES/REJECTIONS

1. Know: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you.” (Jer 1:5) You are not a loser! God assures  His children, “They will fight against you, but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.” (Jer 1:19)

2. Strive for Love: “Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts”. – 1 Cor 12:31 Strive to put love in your heart.

3. Stand Up For What You Believe In: “Stand up and tell them all that I command you.” – Jer 1: 17

4. Remember: a) “Love never fails.” – 1 Cor 13:8 God never fails. He is faithful. b) “No prophet is accepted in his own native place.” – Lk 4:24 Even Jesus was rejected. No matter who you are or were, all face rejection sometime. You may not even want to admit that you were rejected, yet you were. Even Jesus, the Son of God, the Messiah was rejected. Joseph in the O. T. was rejected by his brothers. He acknowledged that and kept going. c) Find security in God’s Acceptance. Others may reject us, yet God is faithful to love and accept us. Acceptance comes primarily from God’s mercy. Christians who experience rejection have the opportunity to experience God’s indescribable acceptance. The psalmist acclaims, “You are my hope, Lord; my trust, GOD, from my youth.” – Ps 71:5 6.

5. Walk Away. Decide to put what happened behind you and look forward to the future. For St. Paul this means “forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead, I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.” – Phil 3:13b-14

6. Keep Going: “But Jesus passed through the midst of them and went away.” – Lk 4:30 Jesus kept going. If we are rejected in our employment, rejected by friends or family, overcome the tough and bear the situation by moving ahead. Head toward the goals in life that God set before you. Rejection is a lesson in learning how to be strong and keep going. Know that rejections come repeatedly in life. So keep going. Stand up for what you believe in despite the rejection.

God bless you! ♥

3rd Sunday in OT-C- January 23, 2022

The Power of Words

Lessons  in Motion to Understand the Power of God’s Word

    Within our words an unseen power is set in motion. The tongue is a small thing but like a tiny spark  can set a great forest on fire. Once spoken our words begin  blazing in trail to the hearts and lives of those around us.

    One kind word can demolish guilt. It can inspire hope. But the same words  have also embraced hatred and executed innocence.

    Once spoken, our words scorch with feelings and emotions on a level that only  they can produce.

Your words set up a train of events beyond your control and which you will never have.  One word can destroy beliefs, harden hearts or cultivate hatred. 

     But they can also demonstrate FAITH, display FORGIVENESS and nurture LOVE.

    The Power of Life and Death lies in a single Word.

And WE, the Image of God, have this Power in ONE WORD.

Let us submit ourselves to the Power of this Word.

PART 1: THE POWER OF THOUGHTS & WORDS

Masaru Emoto (江本勝, Emoto Masaru, born July 22, 1943) is a Japanese author known for his claim that if human speech or thoughts are directed at water droplets before they are frozen, images of the resulting water crystals will be beautiful or ugly depending upon whether the words or thoughts were positive or negative. Emoto claims this can be achieved through prayer, music or by attaching written words to a container of water.

    Based on his work, he has published a collection of photographs, entitled “Messages from Water”.

    He says, “I learned that no two snowflakes were identical. So, I thought, Oh, snowflakes. Snow is water. If snow has crystals, then water should have too, when it’s frozen.”

    Some of the water they examined in the institute showed no crystal formation whatsoever. One such example was tap water.

    From what was observed, beautiful crystals were a rarity when it came to tap waters of Japan. This was also the case in certain cities outside of Japan. Unlike tap water, water from natural sources, produces a variety of beautiful crystal structures captivating our eyes. This is water – revealing another side of its self.

    Dr. Emoto observes, “Everything in existence vibrates. Physics cannot deny this. Vibration is just another word for energy. So how does vibration travel? Through water, I believe. And the hexagonal crystals represent the life force of Mother Nature. Therefore, the absence of hexagonal crystals can be seen as a sign that the life forces in that area have been compromised energetically.”

    Water & Music

After exposing water to beautiful music, like Mozart’s, Emoto discovered that beautiful crystalline formations emerged from the frozen water.

    Water & Thoughts

Emoto conducted another experiment, one that involved projecting thoughts on to water. Four groups of parents and their children participated. In this experiment we used 2 glasses of tap water taken from Tokyo. We should note here that crystal formation has always eluded the waters of Tokyo. To one glass, all of the participants expressed Gratitude, first, out loud, then with their eyes closed.

Water in bottle labeled with name Mother Teresa revealed this beautiful crystal formation!

Three hours later, the frozen water  is ready for observation. It was observed that there was a total lack of beautiful crystal formation in the tap water from Tokyo. But the water that received Gratitude showed sudden emersions of a single crystal, clear and simple – as if to epitomize the thoughts of the people who have gathered. In response to the words and thoughts of the participants, the tap water from Tokyo produced a beautifully balanced crystal.

     Criticism& Publication

    Cautionary note: Commentators have criticized Emoto for insufficient experimental controls, and for not sharing enough details of his approach with the scientific community. In addition, Emoto has been criticized for designing his experiments in ways that leave them open to human error influencing his findings.

    In 2006, Emoto published a paper together with Dean Radin and others in the peer-reviewed Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing (of which Radin was co-editor-in-chief). They describe that in a double blind test approximately 2000 people in Tokyo could increase the aesthetic appeal of water stored in a room in California, compared to water in another room, solely through their positive intentions.

I agree. But I present these so that you also know about these and be the judge of the truth beyond these expositions, the spiritual truth beyond these experiments.

PART 2: DO-IT-YOURSELF:  EMOTO RICE EXPERIMENT

Place cooked rice in 3 jars. Label the 1st jar “I Love You.” Label the 2nd jar “You FOOL!”Do not label the third jar. Cover the jars tightly. Take pictures of the jars. Everyday for 30 days say the words on the jars to each one. Totally ignore the one without the label. Record what you did, the date you did it, and take pictures once a week.

PART 3:  BE SHAPED BY GOD’S WORD

The power of the word is real whether or not you are conscious of it. Your own words are the bricks and mortar of the dreams you want to realize. Behind every word flows energy.

If thoughts expressed in words or other media can do that to water, just imagine what your thoughts & words can do to yourself, others and to the world! Remember, up to 70 % of our body is water! Muscle:  75 % water; Fat: 50 % water; Bones: 50 % water.

These amazing lessons should encourage us:

1) Read the Word of God! Expose ourselves to God’s Powerful Word. If good affirming words already have a tremendous effect on matter such as water, how much more the Powerful Word of God on our Souls/ Spirits!

2) Watch our Thoughts & Words. Let us be sensitive from now on to the possible effects of the words we utter, especially those that come with strong negative emotions like anger and frustrations. Be proactive and be affirming!

3) and mean the Blessings we call upon on ourselves and others. Remember, behind every prayer you say flows grace/ energy. So please Pray! Pray daily as much as you can!

Let us submit ourselves always, immediately & with joy to the Power of The Word Made Flesh.♥

FEAST OF STO. NIÑO- January 16, 2022

IN THE POWER OF ONE

The Power of The One Child

  It takes One Child to divide time. One Child to scatter the proud, and lift up the lowly. One Child to change the world forever. One Child to forgive every wrong thing we have ever done.

    One Child to make others do as He did. It takes One Child to make us a world of One Family. One Child to make us Believe, to inspire us to Love, to make us live with Hope.

    One Child to inspire every soul on earth, to live a life of commitment. It takes One Child, to embolden us to live and die for our Faith.

    It takes One Child, to hold this World together.

That is the Power of this One Child.

    And His One Life Story is repeated and mirrored in various ways in the lives of different Children of different races in different circumstances.

    Such is the amazing power of this One Child!

In this lecturette, we hope to demonstrate the Power of the One Story of the Holy Child on our Individual stories. We shall show that children can have the capacity to pattern their personal life stories after this One Story of Jesus. Let us be inspired, challenged and renewed by the Power of One.

THE POWER OF ONE: THANKING AND FORGIVING

The Power of this Holy Child empowers us to Thank God and Forgive our Enemies.

Namrata Nayak is a 10-year-old Dalit from the village of Sahi Panchayat, near Raikia (district of Kandhamal, Orissa).

 At the outbreak of violence against the Christians, the little girl’s face was disfigured by a bomb thrown by Hindu extremists. After 45 days in the hospital, she has healed, and is happy. Namrata says she’s thanking Jesus for giving her life. Just a fourth-grader, Namrata, told UCA News she forgives her attackers and wants to be a preacher to preach Jesus to her enemies, not just her friends. “It was our enemies who made me courageous and committed,” she explained.

Can you be thankful and forgiving, too, like Namrata, amidst your problems and difficulties in your young life?  Yes, you can! But Only In The Power Of One.

THE POWER OF ONE: WITNESSING & SUFFERING

The Power of this Holy Child empowers us to be Witnesses of Jesus and Suffer and Die for Him

James Jeda, 10

Islamic soldiers forced James Jeda, a 10 year old boy and a Christian, to gather wood for a fire. The soldiers pressure him to convert to Islam. When he refuses, he is thrown to the burning wood he collected and left to die. He narrates, “They told me I would be released if I became a Muslim. I told them that was not possible. I am a Christian. So they threw me on the fire.” He escapes but the scars remain. A reminder of his sacrifice.

Rikka, a teenager, goes to Bible Camp. On the second day, the students are attacked. One of the attackers secures her hands behind her back while another holds a piece of broken glass to her stomach. She’s told to deny Christ. She narrates, “I did not answer him, so he pressed the glass harder against me. Do you believe your God can help you? I said, Yes!” Gripped with fear, she cries out, “Help me, Lord, I do not want to deny you!”

Rikka, Indonesia

    Every day, thousands of Christians are persecuted, for their faith. In over 40 nations around the globe our family is assaulted for their testimony of Jesus Christ. In most instances, the persecution could have been averted if they simply denied Christ. But they didn’t. And they won’t.

In Sudan, an Islamic army is set on Jihad, or Holy War. It has systematically targeted Christians. Most of them, children and young people, scarred for life, for Jesus.

Just look at these brave Pakistani Christian children. This photo was taken right after the October 8, 2005, earthquake in Pakistan.

    They were in prayer vigil for the victims. AsiaNews reports in their website that 2005, was the worst year for Pakistani Christians. These children were so brave and joyful, they were not afraid to be killed for their faith!

Are you ready to face persecution, like James Jeda of Sudan, and Rikka of Indonesia? Can you be joyful amidst trials like these children? Can you still hold out your Light amidst the darkness of the world? Yes, you can. But Only In The Power Of One.

THE POWER OF ONE: MAKING CHANGE BY ACTING NOW

The Power of this Holy Child empowers us to Act on His Word Now

Bilaal Rajan

Bilaal Rajan (born September 7, 1996, in Toronto, Canada) is a fundraiser, motivational speaker, author, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Canada’s child ambassador, and founder of the Making Change

Now organization. Rajan began fundraising when he was four years old, selling clementines (oranges) door-to-door in his neighborhood to raise C$350 in funds for the victims of the earthquakes in the Gujarat province of India in 2001. He later sold handmade plastic plates to raise $1,200 for HIV/Aids orphans, sold cookie boxes to raise over $6,000 for the affected people and children of Hurricane-devastated Haiti, raised $50,000 for the victims of the tsunami in south-east Asia, and more than $50,000 for the World Partnership Walk. In 2004, Rajan launched the Canada Kids Earthquake Challenge for the Canadian National Committee, raising the total funds for tsunami relief to around $1.8 million. To date, he has raised over $5 million for various causes, and in March 2005 he was chosen as an official ambassador for UNICEF. Websites: http://bilaalrajan.com; http://makingchangenow.com

Kung kaya nila, kaya mo rin!

Kaya natin! Anak yata tayo ng Diyos!

God bless you! ♥

BAPTISM OF THE LORD- OT- C  January 9, 2022

OUR BAPTISMAL CALLING: LESSONS IN MOTION

Welcome to our lessons in motion. Our baptismal journey will take us to different times and places, around the globe. In the hope that, after these travels, we may see, the bigger picture of our Baptismal Calling.

PART 1: WHY JESUS WAS BAPTIZED

Our reflections for this Feast of the Lord’s Baptism will first bring us to India. Here, we shall try to look into why Jesus had to be baptized. The year, 1947. India was just granted independence from British rule. Their leader, Mahatma Gandhi, a man of faith, a writer, a politician and a pacifist.

By means of fasting from food, long vigils of prayer, marches, protests and civil disobedience, Gandhi persuaded the British to grant independence to India.

Even though a civil war between the Muslims and Hindus of India followed, and even though Gandhi himself was assassinated in 1948, he nevertheless began an immense movement toward freedom, peace and justice.

One of the reasons why Gandhi put on a loincloth, and fasted from food, almost to the point of death, was to show solidarity with his Indian people, and to identify with them in their suffering.

This is one of the reasons why Jesus was baptized in today’s gospel, to show solidarity with us and to identify more deeply with us.

No, Jesus did not need to be washed clean from Original Sin. Jesus had himself baptized not for personal reasons. His baptism affirmed His Public Calling. Not only did He identify with us, in our need for forgiveness. He also went public, empowering us, who received Baptism in His Name, to do the same: Dare to go public with your Baptismal Calling!

PART 2: BAPTISM: LIVING & BELIEVING

From South Asia, we fly now to an ancient civilization, a multinational entity extending over a large area in East Asia, China. The years, 2007-2010. In this village, in the North of China, people work in agriculture. They are poor. Water is precious. Houses have no heating nor sanitary facilities.

Fr. Peter spends his life travelling from one village to another. He has no house of his own. In 23 villages, families host him for a night or two. And everything he owns, he carries in one bag. He says, “Every day I go to celebrate mass. I hear confessions and I visit the sick. I spend 1 or 2 days in each village. On a Sunday, there are 3 or 4 masses in places we’ve selected so that many people can attend.”

Fr. Peter has been a Catholic priest for 12 years. 4 of them he spent in this parish. People look forward to his visits. In this house, he’s considered part of the family. But what he is doing is “illegal”. He is a priest of the “Underground Church”.

“We are suffering persecution. The freedom of the Church in China is still very far away. But we have to trust, because Jesus told us, ‘Do not be afraid!’”, Fr. Peter says. “The Church in Rome was persecuted for 300 years. And in the end, she obtained freedom,” he continues.

So far, the Chinese Government tolerates religion only under the strict control of so-called Patriotic Associations. Their purpose is to ensure that religious beliefs do not threaten the party line. And it’s a question of loyalty not only for priests.

“Joseph”, Chinese labourer in the Underground Church, says, “I was baptized in the patriotic church. Then, later I found out that there were 2 churches: the patriotic church & the underground church. So, I began to pray – asking God to make me understand which one is the real church.”

Christians who do not surrender their faith to government directives are driven underground. They are in danger of being arrested at any moment. Mass is celebrated in secret since makeshift churches can be torn down by local authorities from one day to the next.

“Teresa”, another Chinese labourer in the Underground Church, says, “I was baptized as a child. During the Cultural Revolution Catholics were persecuted; they beat me up and I abandoned the faith. During those years, I did not give glory to God. But even if I have not always been faithful, I believe God is the real God.”

This first leg of our stop-over in China inspires us the be brave to go public with our Catholic baptism. Catholics in China have lived through fears, persecutions and many unimaginable trials! Through their journey they have only lived and believed in the God of Faithfulness and His encouragement, “Do not be afraid!” Wow!

We have not, thankfully, experienced their lot in the Philippines, which somehow enjoy “religious freedom.” But are we standing up for our beliefs? Or is our faith an underground faith still? Let us dare to go public!

PART 3: BAPTISM: SUFFERING & DYING

The second leg of our journey to China brings us to the depths of the earth. Behind this expanse of stone & mortar a reign of unimaginable brutality & persecution is imposed on Christians in China.

Testified by one who had been jailed and tortured, “I was not arrested because I committed a crime; I was taken to jail because I am a Christian – but that’s alright- because I understand that when we suffer the Lord is glorified…because His people stand up for Him.”

Despite these horrendous conditions Christians are standing firm and the underground church is flourishing under God’s protective cover. Hidden places of worship are all over China.

At then end of this tunnel is a cave never before visited by anyone from the outside world. It lies approximately 30 ft. underground dug entirely by hand. It has no structural support & little in the way of clean air. By the grace of God it has served as a seminary for more than 20 yrs. It has never been discovered.

A woman teacher in this seminary relates, “I’m teacher in the underground Bible School. During the year I only see the sun for 6 days… when we have a break from the training. Every 6 months we teach 80 to 100 students. The training is intensive. Everyday from 5:30am to 10pm non-stop. The underground room is about 15′ x 15′, only 2 meals a day, we have no money as the Church is very poor. Many times we eat the food for feeding pigs. When we are sick we have no money and it’s very risky to see a doctor we are just praying for healing from our Lord.”

And what maybe equally as unbelievable is the JOY these Chinese believers experience in their suffering. Their testimonies are riveting. A Christian believer says, “Why is it so difficult to become a Christian and an evangelist in China? I do not have the answer. But the Holy Spirit works on me…and encourages me. I am not afraid of being arrested or suffering in prison. I am committed to serve the Lord even though that I may have to die.”

A Christian who spent 6 years in jail says, “Suffering helps me to grow spiritually. It is beneficial to me and to the Church. It is my ‘wealth of the heart as I do not have money & other things.”

Pls. remember the Underground Church in China which is enduring great persecution while carrying the cross behind the wall. An appeal from a an Underground Christian, “I heard that U.S. have religious freedom. We want to be like you. We suffer much in China for the Lord. And if you do not need to suffer, you should work hard to proclaim the Gospel, love the Lord more and read the Bible more. Spending more time serving the Lord is important. And the Lord will reward you. Pls. pray hard for the Christians in the Underground Church in China. We have a price to pay to follow Jesus: suffering & persecution.”

A beautiful Prayer from the Heart of an Underground Christian who spent 23 years in Jail:

Thank you, Lord. Thank you for allowing us to suffer for your glory.

That Your Name be glorified. Thank You for setting up a good example for us to follow. We will bear Your cross to follow You everyday no matter where You go, we will follow. The way of the Cross leads us to victory.

Thank You, Lord. Amen.

EPILOGUE

Are we living up to the Name and Baptism we carry? Let us not be worthless Christians.

Let us take to heart Jesus’ words: “Do not be afraid!”

From our brethren in Underground China:

  • to work hard to proclaim the Gospel
  • to love the Lord more
  • to read the Bible more &
  • to spend more time serving the Lord.

God bless you in your life of Witnessing!♥

Epiphany – Jan 2, 2022

Three Wise Gifts

Wise men, really, not Kings. Why wise? Because they knew what to look for in life. They asked, “Where is the new-born king of the Jews?” They were looking for Jesus. Do you know what to look for in life? What are you looking for?

“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” St. Augustine

Three Wise Gifts

1º CHARACTER. To look for Jesus is to develop our CHARACTER. To know how to look for what we ought to, and to be ready to do and to suffer anything and everything to get what should matter most to us and that is to develop a life of faith and virtue. In our Personal P.E.A.C.E. Plan we have vowed to Pray daily, Seek God in Reconciliation and the Eucharist, and become Affirming persons. Commit yourself to these steps and give God the gift of Character.

2º CAPACITY. To look for Jesus is to summon all the internal and external resources that God gives so that we may succeed in our quest.  It is to summon the inner strength which the Lord endowed them with. They did not say, “The journey will be too difficult” or “The journey has been too long.” In our Personal P.E.A.C.E. Plan we have vowed to Educate ourselves in the Faith. This enlarges our Capacity.

3º COMMUNITY. Wise people do not journey alone. They journey together. God wants us to be a community in our search and pilgrimage to his Son. God wants us to build a loving, affirming and serving community. In our Personal P.E.A.C.E. Plan we have vowed to Commit ourselves to selfless service and Enlarge our sphere of interaction. The community/ church we build with Him is our Gift of Community.

Let us strive to give God our wisest gift: Our ALL!

God bless you!

Feast of the Holy Family – C – December 26, 2021

The Family Heart Walk

Emperor Penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) Adults with Chick ANTARCTICA

Some family values from the Penguins, some of the most devoted parents in the world. After the females have laid their eggs when winter temperatures drop to -50 degrees, the female penguins leave their eggs to the males and return to the sea. The devoted males take on the task of looking after the eggs. The male penguin carries the egg on its feet  to protect it from the ice. Its thick feathers protect the egg from the cold. If the egg falls to the ice, it will freeze at once. They go without food for four months. They remain on their feet the whole time  never putting the egg down even for a moment. The penguins huddle together for protection from the freezing wind. All they can do during the four months of winter is to be patient. Even after winter when the eggs have hatched since the layers of fat that will keep them from the cold have not yet formed, they are still on their fathers’ feet. The chick’s first food comes from meal from its father’s crop. Even though the male penguin has eaten nothing for four months it has made another sacrifice and kept is food in its crop for its chick to eat. At just that moment the females come back on land from the sea. They have been hunting and storing food in their crops for their newly hatched chicks. As soon as the females arrive the males who have gone hungry for the last four months rush to the sea  to begin hunting. As soon as the male penguins have eaten they return to their nest and continue to feed their young together with the females. That’s the Penguins’ Heart Walk!

Let’s Do The Heart Walk!

Once the great Roman Empire was the most powerful on earth. Yet it disintegrated and sank down. Historian Edward Gibbon in his History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire gives 5 reasons:  1)  Rapid increase of divorce; undermining the dignity and sanctity of the home, which is the basis of human society; 2) Higher and higher taxes and the spending of public funds; 3) The mad craze for pleasure; sports becoming more exciting but bloody and brutal; 4) The building of massive armaments, when the real enemy was within: the decadence of the people; 5) The decay of religion – fading into mere form, losing touch with life and becoming impotent to warn and guide the people.

New Year Wish List: Create a New Heart in me, O Lord

  • Humble & Patient Heart– a heart more humane, more humble. Resolve: say “I am sorry, please forgive me” more often and readily; go to confessions “more often”; daily examination of conscience; a HolyWhole heart is able to endure hardships and trials patiently.
  • Eucharistic Heart – marked with Endearment, Empathy & Gratitude Resolve: be faithful to Sunday Worship, Kinder towards everyone, esp. those unkind towards us, be more listening, understanding of another’s feelings, situations & motives; more counting of blessings. Seek for spiritual “pleasures
  • Affirming Heart –  huwag maging kuripot sa pagpuna sa kabutihan, kagandahan at pagpupunyagi ng lahat; sabihin ito sa kinauukulan.
  • Reparative & Responsible Heart – be more reconciliatory; on the look out for relationships that need to be repaired & serve as an agent. Use your resources responsibly for this!
  • Truthful Altruistic Heart– alisin na ang mga kasinungalingan sa buhay. Be aware of so-called white lies: little holes in your bucket of truthfulness through which the Prince of Lies may enter into your life. Altruism’s very essence is all-true-ism, living in the Truth, who is also the Way & Life.

Happy Family Day! God bless your Family!

4th Sunday of Advent – Year C- December 19, 2021

CALIBRATE TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS

To calibrate: to check, adjust, focus or determine by comparison with a standard (the graduations of a quantitative measuring instrument).

To calibrate our hearts in order to meaningfully celebrate Christmas means, therefore, to check, adjust, and re-focus our hearts on Jesus.

It means keeping Him in Christmas. But more than just a day, calibrating is a day to day revealing of the character, love and spirit of Christ that dwells in us, allowing these traits to shine through our actions.

THREE STEPS TO CALIBRATE:

1º BE STILL.

“Be still and confess that I am God!” Ps 46:11

üPls. slow down and be still. Just allow God to address you in prayerful silence.

üPray. Meditate. Reflect. Still doing your Christmas shopping? That’s okay. But at the end of the day, please spend sometime being busy with God, in restful prayerful relationship with him.

2º FOCUS.

“Let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us  and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus.” Heb 12:1

Focusing entails these details:

a.  Rid yourself of Sins.

b.  Be patient. Endure trials.

c.  Keeping your heart fixed on God’s Love and Providence.

Some simple ways to keep Christ the central focus of your life this Christmas season:

1) Give God one very special personal gift. No one else needs to know about it. Let it be a sacrifice. Forgive someone? Spend time with God daily? Give up something? Make this your most important gift of the season.

2) Plan a project of good will this Christmas. “Adopt” a single mom, an orphan, a widow, an elderly, a child w/ disability this season?

3) Christmas carolling in a nursing home or a children’s hospital.

4) Give a surprise gift of service to each member of your family. Running an errand for your brother? Cleaning out a closet for your mother?

5) Set aside a time of family devotions on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning. Before opening the gifts, take a few minutes to gather together as a family in prayer and devotions.

6) Attend Christmas Mass service together with your family. Or invite a friend or a neighbor to join you.

7) Send Christmas cards /text that convey a personal spiritual message.

8) Write a Christmas letter of

affirmation to someone.

3º  CHOOSE KINDNESS, ALWAYS, IMMEDIATELY AND WITH JOY.

“4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! 5 Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near.” Phil 4:4-5

KINDNESS

What kindness is not.

Kindness does not necessarily mean being nice.

One can be kind and not nice. Nice is defined as being agreeable. In contrast, kindness is acting for the good of people regardless of what they do.

What Kindness is.

√ comes from Old High German: kind, child

√ comes from the Latin: benignitas (roots bene- = “well” and -genus = “born”)

√ comes from the Greek word chrestotes: which meant to be kind, mild, and benevolent, compassionate, considerate, sympathetic, humane, or gentle.

The apostle Paul uses this word to depict God’s incomprehensible kindness for people who are unsaved (Rom 11:22; Eph 2:7; Tit 3:4).

the kindness and generous love of God…saved us through the bath of rebirth  and renewal by the holy Spirit.” Titus 3:4-5

√ in inter-human relationships, being adaptable to others to the needs of others

√ doing something and not expecting anything in return

√ respecting and helping others without waiting for someone to help you back; you keep being kind no matter what

√ goodness in action

√ sweetness of disposition

Are you Kind enough toPass the Good-o-Meter of God?

3rd Sunday of Advent- December 12, 2021

REJOICE: CELEBRATE CHANGE

Zephaniah calls Jerusalem to celebration (v14). The Lord has taken away the judgments against us (v 15). The Lord is in our midst (verse 17). Isaiah exhorts us to sing praise to the Lord for his glorious achievements while St. Paul calls us to rejoice! Meanwhile, we hear John’s preaching about the concrete demands of a sincere conversion, of true change. Joy is the theme of this 3rd Sunday of advent. It is a call to celebrate a genuine change of heart and mind of the Christian.

HOW DO WE CELEBRATE CHANGE?

 

1º CHOOSE HONESTY: ALLOW NEW GROWTH EVERYDAY

Sirach 29:3 Keep your promise, be honest with him, and you will always come by what you need.

Confront Dishonesty with the Prince of Truth! Remember that Christ is Truth Incarnate!

To the tax collectors: “Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.” Lk 3:12-13

To the Soldiers: “Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages.” Lk 3:14

“Integrity is telling myself the truth.  And honesty is telling the truth to other people.” – Spencer Johnson

“Honesty is the best policy. If I lose mine honor, I lose myself.” –  William Shakespeare

“To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; credible we must be truthful.” – Edward R. Murrow (American Journalist, 1908-1965)

2º CONFRONT HABITS: ANXIETY, NEGATIVITY, GREED & EGO (EASING GOD OUT)

Confront useless anxiety with God’s Love!

Anxiety is considered to be a normal reaction to stress. It may help a person to deal with a difficult situation, for example at work or at school, by prompting one to cope with it. But when anxiety becomes excessive, it may fall under the classification of an anxiety disorder!

“Do not be anxious about anything. (Phil 4:6).

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7)

Negativity

Confront negativism with Faith in God’s Promises!

Be glad and exult with all your heart… the Lord has removed the judgment against you… Fear not, be not discouraged! The Lord, your God, is in your midst! (Zeph 3:14-20)

Greed

Confront greed by giving and sharing. Our greedy, avaricious & selfish attitudes must change.

To the crowds: “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.” Lk 3:10-11

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” -Buddhist saying

Ego (Easing God Out)

Confront attitudes that make God ‘your last resort’.

“In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7).

3º CELEBRATE HOPE AND NAVIGATE BY GOD’S EXHORTATIONS

Celebrate Hope

Celebrate hope by thanksgiving.

Give thanks to the Lord,acclaim his name. (Is 12:4a)

Celebrate hope by making Him known.

Make known his deeds, proclaim how exalted is his name. (Is 12:4b)

Celebrate hope by proclaiming that 

“God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the Lord. He has been my savior.” Is 12:2

Live by God’s Precepts.

Psalm 19:9 The precepts of theLORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

Like John, let us also exhort others to navigate with God through our words and deeds.

Exhorting them in many other ways, John preached good news to the people. (Lk 3:18)

Are you ready to celebrate change this Christmas? ♥

2nd Sunday of Advent- December 5, 2021

GOD’S CHISEL: WE ARE GOD’S MASTERPIECE

♥ The Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh produced 2,000 paintings and drawings before he died in 1890. He sold only one of them, “The Red Vineyard,”which he painted in 1888. And he sold it for 40 Francs, or roughly $85. Van Gogh died, believing he was a failure.

♥Yet, recently, one of his paintings sold for 134.6 million U.S. dollars. This most expensive painting is the “Portrait of Dr. Gachet” (1890). Van Gogh never knew what a great artist he really was. He suffered from anxiety, and increasingly, frequent bouts of mental illness, throughout his life & died largely unknown at the age of 37 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

♥ What is true of Van Gogh is also true of many of us Christians. Few of us really appreciate in this life the greatness of our calling. Few of us really appreciate that each of us is  a work in progress in the very hands of God.

♥That is why the apostle Paul expresses in his letter to the Philippians, “I am confident of this, that the One Who began a good work in you will continue to complete it, until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil 1:6)

You and I, are God’s masterpieces. It is up to us, to help God’s hands in smoothing, chiselling and making straight the paths of imperfections we have often chosen.

♥Remember, we have been called by God out of darkness, into his own wonderful light. How well do we appreciate the great gift that God has lavished upon us? You are more than a Van Gogh. You are God’s Masterpiece.

FIVE STEPS TO ALLOW GOD’S CHISEL UNTO THE MASTERPIECE THAT WE ARE

1. CHOOSE

Choose Relationship areas in your life where there are the most presence of rough edges. (Jesus-Others-Yourself)

2. IDENTIFY

Identify particular attitudes, emotions, reactions that need to be addressed.

3. STRATEGIZE

Strategize (draw up a plan of action) about concretely smoothing these rough edges.

4. ENVISION

Envision (picture in your mind and heart WHO you SHOULD BE guided by your Strategy.

5. LIFT & LIVE.

Lift these master plan of action up to the Hands of God in Prayer & LIVE IT!

YOU ARE GODS MASTERPIECE

(ABRIDGED) SKIT GUYS

Text:

Ephesians 2:10 says that we are God’s workmanship, in essence His masterpiece. Now I don’t know about you, but when I get up in the morning and look in the mirror I don’t see a masterpiece. Maybe a Picasso. 

But I want to be a masterpiece.I want to  be everything that God has created me to be. And so I go to Him and I say, “God, do whatever it takes to get things out of my life that don’t need to be there. Mold me into the image of your Son so that I can be your masterpiece.”

God: “Hi!”

Tommy: Whoa. Who are you?

I’m God.

Tommy: No you’re not.

Yeah, I am. You said the prayer so here I am. That’s how it works. Step right up. (He prepares to begin chiseling)

Tommy: Hey, what’s this about? (referring to the hammer and chisel)

These are the tools I’m going to use to make you to my original masterpiece.

Tommy: Oh. Okay. Hang on! Yeah?

Tommy: I thought you were a carpenter.

That’s my son. Step right up. Here we go.

Tommy: Whoa, whoa, whoa. How do you know what to chisel and what to leave?

I take out all the things in your life that aren’t of me…kind of like dead weight.

Here we go. You have a lot of ANGER and some PRIDE, you COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS instead of Me…you’re LAZY but you PRETEND like you’re really, really busy… you have a problem with LUST…you’ve been holding on this for a long time.

Tommy: It hurts!

It hurts Me more than it hurts you!

Tommy: Ow…i don’t think you understand this pain!

Don’t talk to me about pain and all about pain. I sent my Son to die on the cross for pain, for sin. But i also did it for another reason: to give you freedom.

Do you know what insanity is? Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over and over again and expecting different results. And they are the things in your life, when you think back to high school, that you’ve been doing that do not work in your life but you go into these empty wells…whenever you’re hurting, angry, lonely and tired…but they DO NOT WORK…

Tommy: Okay…chisel away…just be prepared for what you’re gonna find in there…‘cause I know who’s inside there… ‘cause, God, I get up every morning and look him in the mirror. And it is this…this scared little kid who gets up every day and tries to dress like and adult and act like an adult but CAN’T! So, just be prepared for what you’re gonna find in there!

You’ve listened to so many voices for far too long that are not of Me. You think you’re JUNK, don’t you? You really, really, really think you’re junk! Listen to Me. I don’t make junk. What does that say about Me? Don’t compare yourself to someone else because that just trivial nonsense. You are My ORIGINAL MASTERPIECE. You are one of my workmanship. In you I find favour. This, don’t look at this as a prison. But look at this as a Father disciplining His child. A Father disciplines the ones He loves.

Tommy: I know, but it’s gonna be tough.

Yes, it will be tough. But you bought into the lie by thinking everything’s gonna be easy when you said YES to Me. That’s not how it works. I want you to do something…I want you to look out there and I want you to say, “Tommy is God’s Original Masterpiece.”

“Tommy….” No, no, no. The WAY I SEE YOU!

“TOMMY IS GOD’S ORIGINAL MASTERPIECE.”

YES YOU ARE!

So are YOU! GOD does not make junk. YOU ARE AN ORIGINAL MASTERPIECE.

God bless you!