Saturday, July 24, 2010

The day I stopped praying


17th Sunday in Ordinary time
Cycle C
Gospel reading: Luke 11: 1 - 13

Don’t get me wrong. I am a man of strong faith. At least I struggle to be one. But the day I stopped praying was when I was a child. I prayed to receive, receive, and receive. I prayed to get high grades, to receive honors, to receive gifts, and all others that I need to pray for. I asked God to focus on me and hear my prayer.

But time after I graduated from elementary, something happened with the way I prayed. By the time I finished Grade school, I was not really interested in what I was praying for. Yes, my prayer was answered. But I gained much more: I gained a Friend.

After grade school, I continued praying to Him, but unlike my first experiences of prayer, the next ones I found hard for the Lord to grant them. I prayed for so many, but it seemed that the Lord is granting only a few. Maybe, the Lord wanted me to grow in my outlook of prayer – from a childish one to a childlike one. For I was challenged with this thought, “If the Lord seemed not hear your prayers, would he still be your true friend?" I stopped praying to receive. Instead, I started praying for the Lord to hear others' prayers. I knew they would be more important than mine.

Later on, my prayer further evolved to something like this: what would my Friend want of me - my time, my talent, my treasure? Since I knew that what I would give to him would not suffice for all the good He has done for me, I wouldn’t have anything to offer Him, except my own life.

This new journey of prayer led me to where I am right now. I decided to offer myself to the Lord as a priest and commended everything I love – my parents, my family, my friends, my concerns of the future – I offered all those dear to me. I knew that I value all these, but there’s no better way to value that to entrust everything to His care.

I still pray like a child. I’d pray with all my might, especially when my mother was confined at the hospital. I would bargain and plead to the Lord for her recovery. But I also knew that His will is a whole lot better than mine. I had to let go of what I want and allow him to do what is best. We in the family made a final commendation of our mother. He prepared her and received her into His loving arms. I knew that everyone would be secured in His loving arms and there is nothing to be afraid of.

Yes, I stopped praying wrongly, but the Lord taught me how to truly pray.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The closeness of God

15th Sunday in ordinary time
Cycle C
Gospel:  Luke 10:25-37

There are three instances the God is as close to us as ever.  The first is his Word.   The world revolves because of the power of words.  Every moment we use words.  Grant that our words be God's word.  We don't have the right to use words as we please but rather, to use words to bring life to people.

Second,  God is close to us in Jesus Christ and our relationship with him as the Body of Christ.  Grant that we may give life to this body and not take it for granted.  If we want to animate the Church, we better learn how Christ lived in this world.

Third, God is close to us in the very person next to us.  "Whatever you do to the least of your brothers and sisters you do it to me."  Do not delay any act of kindness till tomorrow.  It may be too late.  Jesus is passing by each day.  Do not lose the opportunity to give each day; give a portion for others.  That will kill the poverty besetting our nation.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Be a modern-day disciple

14th Sunday, Cycle C

Rejoice when Jesus says, "The harvest is great".  We have a God who looks at the positive, not on the negative; who chooses abundance and an overflow of blessings over scarcity.

But where are workers?  Jesus says, "Beg the Master to send laborers to the harvest."  Then he immediately instructs his disciples to go forth to the towns in his name.  Jesus also commands us to go forth and bear fruit.

But despite God's promises why do we still not follow him and work in his field?  Probably we are carrying too much baggage.  Maybe we have programmed our lives that we don't have time to do God's work.  De-clutter with the useless concerns - these are the things we won't bring to eternal life.  Invest in things that will last forever.

Secondly, We don't follow because we don't desire to bring peace to people's lives.  Jesus commands his disciples, "In whatever house you enter say, "Peace to this household."  But if we don't bring peace to others, we won't gain peace for ourselves.  Our lives would be a never-ending struggle to survive.  If we bring peace to others, we would gain peace for ourselves.

Finally, we don't become Jesus' disciples because it is not God's kingdom we serve but our own kingdoms.  Yes, we serve ourselves, but in God's kingdom everyone lives; there is justice, peace, equality; there are blessings; the poor are served. 

Pray to be God's disciples.  It may be the best decision we would make.