Herod said, “John I beheaded.
Who then is this about whom I hear such things?”
And he kept trying to see him.
~ Luke 9:9
I first heard about him from my mother as early as I could remember. From then on, he has been a constant presence in my life. People around me often invoked his name. I heard more stories about him in school, in church, in some movies. I read about him in books and comics and in the stories of other people’s lives. But there are two people who have told and taught me more about him than any others persons: Fr. Carlos Abesamis and Fr. Thomas Green.
Fr. Abe was a biblical scholar with deep roots in the lives of ordinary people and in spirituality. He showed me the Jesus of the Gospels like he was walking among and talking with us. Because of Fr. Abe, I heard Jesus proclaiming the Kingdom of God. I loved listening to his mission statement. I loved being inspired by his parables and the beatitudes. Through his strong faith, Fr. Abe showed that Jesus is still alive and active today, still proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom, still teaching and inspiring people to change become better persons, still healing and liberating the poor, the oppressed and the dispossessed, still forgiving and making whole the sinners, still making uncomfortable and afflicting the unjust, the hypocrites and oppressors.
Fr. Tom was a caring spiritual director. He taught me what prayer and spirituality truly mean. He showed me how to pray. It is Fr. Tom who opened my eyes that everything is grace and that God is in control. I cried buckets when he asked me to imagine Jesus looking at me with a tender and loving gaze and saying, “I loved you first.”
Through these two wonderful persons, I have come to see Jesus fully alive and active in my life today, in the people he has sent my way, through the events – many serendipitous, all of them blessings – that unfold in my day to day.
“Father, thank you for sending us your Son to be our Savior. He lives among us even today through the Spirit who abides among us.”