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!

1st Sunday-Advent-C-November 28, 2021

AN ADVENT CAMPAIGN

In New South Wales, Australia, there is a long running road safety campaign called STOP, REVIVE, SURVIVE.

The campaign urges drivers who have a long journey ahead of them to stop every 2 hours for a short break – whether it’s to have a coffee and something to eat or to walk about and stretch their legs. The awareness campaign gives info on microsleep. 

MICRO SLEEP

A micro sleep is an episode of sleep which may last for a fraction of a second or up to thirty seconds. Often, it is the result of sleep deprivation, mental fatigue, sleep apnea, hypoxia, narcolepsy, or hypersomnia. Micro sleeps can occur at any time, typically without significant warning.

♥The point of the road campaign is to reduce incidences of road drivers slipping into micro sleeps & the number of deaths on the road, particularly during major holiday periods when just about everyone packs up and jumps in the car to go somewhere.

♥The point of this advent campaign, is to reduce the number of spiritual deaths, on the road to holiness, particularly, during the Christmas season, when just about everyone, would be tempted to be concerned about the least of Christmas concerns, material things.

Let us adapt this Campaign, Stop, Revive, Survive, and call it an Advent Campaign. This campaign is based on today’s Gospel from Luke.

STOP.

But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” (Luke 21:28)

♥Some department stores even pray the angelus at noon time and in the evening, putting a halt, to all business and worldly transactions, to simply say “Thank you, Lord!”

That is what it means to stop. Sometimes, when stopping is not physically possible, slowing down is already a big help.

♥Is this not possible, too, for us Christians? To slow down or to stop every two hours, to simply “raise our heads” by bowing down to the Author of life and of time?

REVIVE.

♥This condition is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness or E.D.S.,  in which a person, experiences extreme fatigue, and possibly falls asleep, at inappropriate times, such as while at work, or at school.

♥Physical and mental fatigue are doors that lead to microsleeps. Yes, they can affect our spirits, too. Tell tale signs of spiritual micro slips into microsleeps may include,

√little outbursts of sarcasm toward another person,

√fleeting bad thoughts & wishes for persons we dislike

√mentally cursing a person

√non-verbal indifference

√many other symptoms we can identify within our consciences.

♥Do you have these signs of spiritual microsleeps? Don’t worry, we all have them. Let us Rest a while.

Jesus reminds us, Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. (Mt 11:28)

He exhorts us, Beware that your hearts, do not become drowsy, from the anxieties of daily life. (Luke 21:34)

Remember Hachiko’s story? Hachiko was an Akita dog  who had gained the honor of the Japanese people because for close to 10 yrs. He waited faithfully for his master, Prof Eizaburo at the train station, as he was in the habit of doing.

♥Indeed, to revive is to re-commit ourselves, to faithfulness, despite the anxieties of daily life. Faithfully and productively, watching and awaiting the Master’s return, without slipping into any spiritual microsleeps.

♥But having died from a stroke while in the University, the master never arrived. Hachiko waited and waited faithfully till he died.

SURVIVE.

♥ through PRAYER.

In today’s gospel, Jesus exhorts us, to Be vigilant at all times, and pray that you have the strength, to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man. (Lk 21:36)

In other words, Jesus gives us a formula for surviving through our widowing time: PRAYER.

He reminds us now, that if only we can stop at different moments during the day, and revive our drooping spirits, through connectedness to Him in prayer, we will survive all our trials and tribulations.

A famous saying goes: He who has the WHY to live for, can survive almost any HOW. (adapted)

BLESSING OF ADVENT WREATH

Lord our God, we praise you for your Son, Jesus Christ. He is Emmanuel, the hope of the peoples. He is the wisdom, that teaches and guides us. He is the Savior, of every nation.

   Lord God, let your blessing come upon us as we light the candles of this wreath. May the wreath and its light, be a sign of Christ’s promise to bring us salvation.

   May he come quickly and not delay. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

34th Sunday OT-B  Nov. 21, 2021

SOLEMNITY OF CHRIST THE KING:

TESTIFYING TO THE TRUTH

PART 1: HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

The Celebration of Christ the King was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925. Pius XI and the rest of the  Christian world witnessed  the rise of dictatorships in Europe and saw Catholics being taken in by these earthly leaders. The Feast of Christ the King was instituted during a time when respect for Christ and  the Church was diminishing. These problems have not vanished but instead have worsened. Pius hoped the institution of the feast would have various effects. These effects include:

1. That nations would see that the Church  has the right to freedom  and immunity from the state.

2. That leaders and nations would see that  they are bound to give respect to Christ.

3. That the faithful would gain strength  and courage from the celebration of the feast & be reminded that Christ must reign in our hearts, minds, wills, and body.

PART 2: TESTIFYING TO THE TRUTH

“ For this I was born, and for this, I came into the world, to testify to the truth, Everyone who belongs to the truth, listens to my voice.” Jn 18:37

Jesus tells us what it means to belong to the truth, that is, to listen to His voice. This means that we are to become instruments of:

1. TRUST.

This is about Faith. Jesus invites us to be instruments of trust. Trust is one component of faith. Trust in the Lord with all your heart (Prov 3:5).

One who trusts the Lord from the heart should

♥ detest false testimonies and misconduct,

♥ should live in the truth and not hide in hypocrisy, 

♥ should prove oneself as worthy of trust  in small and big things.

Jesus is our security, promising peace to those who put their trust Him. In other words, God promises peace to those who embrace a truthful life.

2. RECONCILIATION.

This is about Relationships and Healing. Jesus invites us to be instruments of forgiveness and healing.

“whoever is in Christ, is a new creation. He says that this gift of being created anew is from God, who has reconciled us to himself, through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:17-18)

♥ Let us bring to others the forgiving love of God.

♥ Let us be forgiving.

♥ Let us also encourage others to be forgiving.

♥ Let us remember that only love renews all things.

3. UNIVERSALITY.  

This is about Vision.

♥ The word Catholic is derived from the Greek adjective καθολικός (katholikos), meaning “universal”. It was used as early as the time of Ignatius of Antioch (35-107 a.d.), a contemporary of the apostle John, and was later used in 325 a.d. as  a binding term within the Nicene Creed, which has been recognized by all Christian churches throughout the world and throughout history.

♥ Thus, a Christian Catholic is guided by Godly principles that apply to all, at all times.

♥ Universality is also about seeing and living the Big Picture. It is thinking globally, and acting locally.

♥ And, as we already know, the first condition needed to see the big picture is Light of God.It will not be possible to see the whole picture of God’s universal role in our lives if we continue to live in the darkness of sin.

♥ Expose these dark areas to the Divine Light of God’s Mercy through remembering, repentance and reconciliation.

♥ For unless we see the big picture, we will be unable to see where there’s a missing piece, and the roles that God and our attitude play in the big game of life.

♥ Do you see the Catholic picture? Do you see the Whole Universal picture of your place in God’s plan? Are you really still catholic in your faith, hope and love?

4. TOUCH OF GOD.

This is about Love.

Jesus invites us to be His very own hands and heart.

We can only be the instruments of the Master’s touch if we have allowed ourselves to be touched by His love. 

♥ Jesus, after his tassel on his cloak was touched by a sick woman, asked, “Who touched me?” (LK 8:45)

Jesus still asks us the same question, Who among you has ever touched me with so much faith and love?

We also become instruments of His Touch when we think of the people who have moved us to deeper faith and more genuine love. Love them back and pray for them.

♥ Is there anyone we know whom God has touched positively in an emotional, intellectual and spiritual way recently through you? Let us Pray for them.

5. HEAVEN.

This is about Hope.

Jesus reminds us in the Gospel of John, In my Father’s house there are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you. (Jn 14:2).

Jesus invites us to be instruments of Hope to this world, now going through its widowing time.

WAYS OF BEING BRINGERS OF HOPE

CORPORAL WORKS OF MERCY

1. Feed the hungry

2. Give drink to the thirsty

3. Clothe the naked

4. Shelter the homeless

5. Visit the sick

6. Visit those in prison

7. Bury the dead

SPIRITUAL WORKS OF MERCY

1. Convert the sinner

2. Instruct the ignorant

3. Counsel the doubtful

4. Comfort the sorrowful

5. Bear wrongs patiently

6. Forgive injuries

7. Pray for the living and the dead

These are based on the teaching of Christ and on Church practice since apostolic times. There are, indeed, many roads to being a sacrament of hope to others.

EPILOGUE

In summary, how do we testify or live the Truth?

By being instruments of:

TRUST ( FAITH)

RECONCILIATION(RELATIONSHIPS AND HEALING)

UNIVERSALITY (GOD’S VISION FOR HUMANITY)

TOUCH OF GOD (GODLY LOVE AND SERVICE)

HEAVEN (HOPE)

HAPPY FEAST DAY!♥