Monthly Archives: July 2009

Throwing The Bad Away

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind. When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away. Matthew 13:47-4

I realized one iniquty in me.  I was glad something bad happened to someone.

This someone was my former colleague and  had numerous times I did not agree with him. There were times I hope he was not coming to the office.  I questioned his approaches and strategies. I argued with him to make my point. I sometimes undermined him. I spoke against him behind his back and in front of him.

And then the news about this not so good thing happening to him came to my ear. As I heard this, deep in my heart, I smiled.  I silently said to myself, good thing bad thing happened to him.  I was happy that someone was suffering. I was glad that someone was standing on tough times. I was committing a sin. I was doing something wrong. I was doing something bad. I was convicted to pray to God and ask for His forgiveness and renewal and went to confession.

When the fisherman’s net caught me, I was an imperfect fish.  I am not a fish for the aquarium at the living room or at the hotel lobby. I am not a fish fit for a photo shoot with the fisherman. I am not a fish for display on the celebration meal table.  I am still an imperfect fish. Praise be to God, I was put into the bucket. Thanks be to God, I am swimming in His bucket. He is calling me to throw away the bad in me and not me being thrown away.

God does not throw the bad fish. God throws away the bad in the fish.

God does not throw the bad person. God throws away the bad in me and you.

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We Can

Jesus said in reply, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?” They said to him, “We can.” Matthew 20:22

I love the response of the sons of Zebedee, “We can.”

There is an element of fellowship. We. There is no I. There is no me. There no myself.  Most things in life can not be done alone. Important matters in life are not meant to be done alone. You and I need someone. You and I need somebody. You give support. You receive support. There is companionship in “We”. We makes a family. We makes a friendship. We makes a church. We makes a community.

There is an element of God’s power. James and John said can not will.  When you say can, you are giving space in which you state you need God.  You give space on what God will do or not. For if they say “We will” rather than “We can”, they rely on their own. Paul knew this as he wrote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13)

When I went to the US all by myself, I began to realize the importance of my family and my community. The significance of “We”. Though my family joined me after more than a month, but those days were tragic. I cried almost every night. No TV program entertained me. No new acquaintances replaced my proven relationships. I go to daily mass crying out to God to bless me as I am alone. It is like drinking His cup as in being isolated from your family and friends. Going through all the adjustments and new culture, I told myself, I can not do it alone.  When my family arrived, we sailed and lived together with the adjustments up to now with God’s help.  I praise God for allowing my family to be with me as He knows I need to give and receive companionship and support.

Christian life is about drinking His cup. But no worry, for Christian life, also, is about “We can.”

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Life’s Parables

The disciples approached him and said, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. Matthew 13:10-11

He spoke to God’s people using parables. And up to our times, God still speaks to us in parables. Parables which most of the time we do not understand. Like the following,

Your US visa application denied.
Your scholarship slashed.
Your board exam failed.
Your pregnancy ectopic.
Your work supervisor unreasonable.
Your skills unwanted.
Your motive questioned.
Your family in turmoil.
Your health depleting.
Your friendship broken.
Your spiritual growth slow.

These are some of life’s parables. And these are the same life’s questions. We do not comprehend why they happen. We do not see the grand design that comes along with it.

Jesus said mysteries of the kingdom are handed down to the disciples.  I have a suggestion to understand your parable. Become a disciple.

Love God with all your heart. Seek Jesus instead of self.  Follow Jesus rather than you own course. Know God and make Him known. Please God instead of saying, ” Please God give me this…” Live for God and for others.  Seek His pleasure rather than yours.

Become His disciple and understand your parable.

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When God Shouts

Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher. John 20:16

Jesus had to use an exclamation point as He called her, “Mary!”  Jesus had to shout. Why?

Because Mary thought Jesus was the gardener. Because she did not recognize her Lord at the first instance.  Because she did not acknowledge Jesus who was dear to her at the first sight.

Let me count several possible ways why sometimes God has to shout.

First, she thought He was the gardener. She thought the resurrected God is a man. She mistaken God for a man. When we give recognition to man and not to God, we shift our attention not to God but to man. When we glorify the creation rather than the Creator, we missed out on His presence.

Mary was weeping as she was entering the tomb. Maybe, her eyes full of tears blocked her good vision to recognize the risen Christ at the first call. Does something blocks your eyes in seeing Jesus? If yes, wait for God’s booming voice.

It was still dark when she came to the tomb. Maybe, the darkness prevented her to see who was in front of her clearly.  In the same way, darkness engulfing our lives prevents us from seeing Jesus.  Things not of God can become clouds over for us to see the light.

She expected a dead Jesus still laying on the tomb. She did not expect standing and speaking Jesus. Maybe, this expectation did not allow her to acknowledge Jesus at the first encounter.  God is full of surprises.  When we expect the ordinary to happen, God does the extra-ordinary. When we expect limitation, God goes beyond the boundary.

My daughters sometimes get the ire of their parents when at first call they do not respond. We need to elevate our voices to get their attention and respond to us.  I noticed they don’t respond at first since their eyes are stuck in the TV set or when they are doing their art crafts.  We, too, hear God’s elevated voice when we fix our hearts on other things rather than God. We know God is calling us but we shun His call because our eyes are busy with other things.

Jesus speaks to us personally. Jesus knows how just to get our attention. He knows our personal frequency bandwidth. That is why we won’t miss His voice.

Give glory to God. Wipe your tears. Overcome the darkness. Have an expectant faith. Fix your eyes on Him. Respond to His voice at first. Recognize Him at once.

Unless you want to hear God’s shout.

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Be Living

So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”  But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” John 20:25

Reasons have been hurled at why Thomas did not believe.

  • He was not there when Jesus showed up.
  • He himself had serious doubts.
  • He wanted to see for himself the Risen Christ.
  • Thomas was not convinced the way the disciples told him so.
  • Or maybe Thomas wanted more than the disciples telling him and may have not seen any changes in the disciples’ lives after they have seen the resurrected Jesus.

Words may not be enough to convince somebody to turn to Jesus.  It can be more than saying you believe in Jesus. Believing is be living.  People may need to see your life changes. People may need to look you have changed. People may need to know you are not the same person as before.

It’s not enough you preach, you must practice.
It’s not enough you talk, you must walk.
It’s not enough you talk about God’s love, you must love.
It’s not enough you read God’s word, you must apply His words.
It’s not enough you pray, you must follow.
It’s not enough you say “God will provide!”, you must share.
It’s not enough you say “No to pride!”, you must be selfless.

It’s not enough you say “We have seen the Lord!”, people must see the Lord in you.

To believe is to be living.

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Kapamilya Ka Ba?

(Are You Family?)

“For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Matthew 12:50

I learned from one community seminar that when you are getting married to a person, in a way, you are getting married to his or her family.  This makes sense since the person you are marrying embodies the character and culture of his or her family.  In fact, you are embracing the  family’s culture and character when you commit to live your life with your spouse. In the Philippines, your in-laws would say, “Kapamilya ka na, hindi ka na iba sa amin.” (You are part of the family, you are not an outsider.”).  Most of the time, this happens when you learn to embrace and accept their culture. You do things the way they do things. You eat what they eat. You talk their talk.  You sleep where they sleep.  You share the household with them. Your decisions impact your relationship with them. In a practical way, we create a bond or a relationship.

Jesus told us that when we do the will of the Father we are part of the family. Kapamilya tayo. We are not outsiders. Jesus considers us to be in a family-based relationship when we do what the Father asks us to do.  We share a bond with Jesus when we talk the way He talks. We live with Him in a household when we love the way He loves.  We embrace the culture and the way of life of God’s household when we live as Jesus’ brothers and sisters.  When you based your decisions upon the Father’s will you are stating the fact that you are part of the clan. In this God given life of ours, we follow His ways and His will to sustain and nourish our relationship with Jesus.

Friends, my question is obvious. Hopefully, our answer is affirmative.

Kapamilya ka ba?

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Blood Compact

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:13

A sandugo or blood compact is a ritual of tribes where they cut their wrists and harvest their blood into cups. The parties involved then drink each other’s blood to signify friendship or a pact.

Blood compact was conducted between Malay tribes in the Philippines and the Spaniards. In 1565, Datu Sikatuna of Bohol shared his blood to known Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez De Legaspi.  Portuguese stalwart Ferdinand Magellan shed his blood with the chieftain of Cebu, Rajah Humabon, in 1521.

Jesus’ blood was shed for our redemption and we drink His blood in the sacrament of eucharist as a blood compact. And in this blood compact, only one side shared His blood. We did not have to share our blood.  His blood is enough. When Jesus shared His blood for us, He has friendship in mind. We were far off from God, however, through this blood compact we became near to God. We who were foreigners became citizens through Jesus’ blood compact.  God came near, so we can come near to God.  A relationship is borne out of Jesus’ blood compact between the Maker and His creations.

We enjoy God’s presence because of Jesus’ blood.

God is with us and we are with God by the blood of Jesus.

By the blood of Jesus, we are friends with God.

May we remember always through His blood, we are near with God.

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