Saturday, January 5, 2013

More to See

Gospel: John 1:43-51. 

Jesus decided to go to Galilee, and he found Philip. And Jesus said to him, "Follow me." 
Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the town of Andrew and Peter. 
Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth." 
But Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see." 
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, "Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him."
Nathanael said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree."
Nathanael answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel."
Jesus answered and said to him, "Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this."
And he said to him, "Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."

Making people believe in God is a real challenge. In this world, most people think that to see is to believe. People doubt just like how Nathanael doubted when Philip told him about Jesus. To the contrary, as Christians we believe in order to see. Jesus said we are yet to see greater things. There is more to the joy we feel when we recognize God’s blessings; there is more to the peace we enjoy when we talk to God; there is more to the overwhelming feeling of worshipping God. Can you imagine that? We might think we already had the best of feelings at some point in our spiritual journey but God is telling us there is more to come. That’s His promise.

Now, don’t you see it fit to share this great promise with the rest of the world? I guess what makes our mission different from all other missions is that we have God. Unlike most missions which are accomplished only by individuals alone, ours is a mission where we work together – with each other and with God. It is never a burden then, is it? While we work, we get to enjoy the company of our brothers and sisters and more importantly, we enjoy God’s comforting presence.

However, we must also realize that this mission can be quite challenging; so challenging that our faith will be put to the test especially when doubt becomes contagious; so challenging that we might be tempted to give up and just live the easy life. If we ever reach this point, we just have to remember that we have God on our side. There is always more strength in Him. Besides, we never have to do it alone. If we do our part by bringing God into the lives of other people, we allow God to do His part also. By introducing God to other people, we also become a blessing. Once they come to know Him they will start to recognize and be grateful for the many wonderful things He has done for them. And together, we will see greater things just as God has promised us.

Friday, January 4, 2013

"COME and you will SEE"

Gospel: John 1:35-42 
John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, "Behold, the Lamb of God."The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, "What are you looking for?" They said to him, "Rabbi" (which translated means Teacher), "where are you staying?" He said to them,"Come, and you will see." So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about four in the afternoon.Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. He first found his own brother Simon and told him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated Anointed).Then he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Kephas" (which is translated Peter).

It has been almost five months since I came to Eastern Samar as a Mission Volunteer in CFC-Youth for Christ (YFC). I will never forget every experience with Lord that moved me from being a simple member of YFC to a Mission Volunteer. As I always say, being a missionary is a gift hidden in every person and is enjoyed by the people who recognize the mission.

Being far from my family, I can’t always check their everyday condition. The only thing I can do is to pray and intercede in the needs of my family. But the Lord is true to His promise. Amidst the many challenges we face, I see God’s graciousness in the many blessings He continues to shower my family with. My “pamangkin” wants to become a sacristan. For how many years our roof has been under repair and now, rain water no longer gets inside the house. These are only some of the Lord’s blessings to me and my family and I know there is more to come when we follow and cling unto Him, when He says “Come and you will see”. It is like  He is telling us "follow Me and I will open the heaven to bless you abundantly". And total submission of ourselves to Him can truly lead us to see many great things He has been doing for us.

Remaining True to the Mission

Gospel: John 1:29-34. 
John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He is the one of whom I said, 'A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.'I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel."John testified further, saying, "I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him.I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the holy Spirit.' Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God."

In today’s Gospel, John the Baptist said that the reason he came baptizing with water was so that Jesus might be known to Israel. Perhaps, we should also ask ourselves why we do the things we do.

We have a mission to proclaim God’s greatness to the world. Is our tight daily schedule helping us fulfill this mission or is it only distracting us from our real mission? Is our social life helping us evangelize people or are we being dragged into social activities which are contrary to living a holy life?   

It takes a personal relationship with Jesus to really know Him. As followers of Christ, we can only introduce Him to the lives of other people and that is already one great step in their spiritual growth. We can do this by speaking of God’s Word but there’s another effective way to do it. It is to live by God’s Word. It is by putting action in our faith. People would more likely imitate our actions than listen to our words.

We can only bring Christ into other people’s lives if we have grown spiritually as well, if we have come to have a deep relationship with Him. We have to remain faithful to this relationship. Let us be Christians even when we are outside the Church, even when it’s not Sunday. Let our every action, every word and every thought be a stepping stone to fulfilling our mission. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Gospel: John 1:19-28.
 This is the testimony of John. When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him to ask him, "Who are you?" he admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, "I am not the Messiah."So they asked him, "What are you then? Are you Elijah?" And he said, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" He answered, "No."So they said to him, "Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?" He said: "I am 'the voice of one crying out in the desert, "Make straight the way of the Lord,"' as Isaiah the prophet said."Some Pharisees were also sent.They asked him, "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet?" John answered them, "I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie." This happened in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

In life some people live in abundance while others in poverty. One may choose simple clothes while another would choose branded ones. A student may choose a prestigious course, while some choose to become a priest or a nun. Other people want to have a good job that will earn much money, while some choose to become missionaries.Imagine if all people choose the same way of life, course or career? In this case, people might only be following the trend. By simply following the trend, a lot of people might not recognize God’s plan in their lives. Like the priest and Levites they keep on asking John the Baptist if he is the Messiah. Then John tells the truth that he is not the Messiah. He further said, that “there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie”. They were probably asking because they could not recognize God in their lives and only listen to the one who sent them.The Lord is inviting us to listen to Him as He reveals our purpose in the life. So that we may not be like the priest and Levites asking about the Messiah, rather recognize God’s presence in our life for us to prepare the way for the Lord that other people may recognize Him through us.

Towards a Joyous 2013

Gospel: Luke 2:16-21. 
The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them. When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

We find the most joy if we seek Christ and make Him the center of our lives. But where do we begin our search? We become like the shepherds and seek Christ in the humility of the manger. Christ’s birth, despite its humble nature, holds so much promise – the promise of salvation.

As we welcome the New Year, let us humble ourselves and let Christ reign in every single day of our lives. Each day, let God unveil His plan for us. Our own plans may be good, fruitful even, but God’s plan is always far greater than we could ever imagine. We just need to keep the faith. Of course, we will need His constant guidance through His word –the Bible – and through our quiet time with Him. This year, let’s make it a habit to spend a bit of our time with Him each day, even just fifteen minutes of prayer. Then, we are guaranteed to experience the most peaceful fifteen minutes every day.

God never promised us 365 days of just smiles and laughter but we can be assured of a great journey with Him all year round. Just as the shepherds rejoiced upon hearing and seeing what they had been told, we will also be filled with joy for God remains true to His promises. Happy New Year!