The Bread Of Life

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The daily Gospel readings of late have all been about the bread of life. It reminds me that there is more to life than just my physical existence. There is more to food and eating than just the bread to keep us alive. There is also the Bread of Life. We have a physical existence that will eventually end. We have a spiritual existence that will go on forever.

We do physical exercises to keep physically healthy. We also need to do spiritual exercises to keep our spirit alive. There is the life of the spirit and there is life in the Spirit. I know and feel that there is more to my being here than just the seven or eight or even nine decades of my stay here on earth. The earth, in its abundance and fruitfulness, gives me an inkling of what eternal life could be: ever old yet ever new, always changing yet always the same, constantly dying yet instantly alive.

Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
In fact, He is here, now.

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The Mystery of Life and Eternity

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There is something in me that know I will never die. There is a thirst and a hunger in me that cannot be satisfied. I long for the fullness of life where death has no power.

What am I most afraid of? Getting hurt, not being appreciated, not being of value or help to others specially to those I love, being alone and isolated, not accomplishing anything of significance.

Why am I afraid? Because I might not be able to handle the pain and suffering and I am broken beyond healing? Or, that I will be soon forgotten and not remembered by people dear to me? Or, that I will eventually succumb go death and be gone forever?

But isn’t this fear merely a phantom? Like a child afraid of the dark, aren’t my fears born out of my loneliness or even selfishness? For something in me or Someone out there tell me that once I start to be, I shall go on being forever.

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From Our Senses And Beyond

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We have our senses to connect to the world around us. With our eyes, we can see the beauty and colors around us, the shifting and the changing through the day and the seasons. Our ears let us hear the different melodies of nature and the universe. They also bring us the sweet voices and songs of people we love and care for. We touch, we smell, we feel all our pleasures through our senses. We also experience and succumb to our vices and weaknesses through the senses. Without them, we are but inert dust – unfeeling and dead.

And yet, there is more to life that what our sense perceive. We close our eyes and we see colors and possibilities we would never see without eyes open. We keep silent and shut out the noise and we hear more than what our ears alone can hear. We fast and abstain and we begin to appreciate simple tastes and touches.

For where the sense stop, our spirit takes over and show us the deeper reality of our lives. A reality where reason does not reign supreme but the heart does. A reality that starts with the senses but which brings us to another and higher dimension and level of existence. A dimension and level where all our hunger is satisfied and all out thirst is slaked.

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It Is The Lord!

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When there is so much deceit, lying and hypocrisy in the world,
and people are fed untruths as a matter of course;
it is difficult to say, “It is the Lord.”
When there is so much greed among men that many go hungry
and yet there is enough to feed everyone;
it is very difficult to say, “It is the Lord.”
Where there is so much hatred, strife and violence among nations,
like we all had a common death wish to end human existence on earth;
it is indeed very difficult to say, “It is the Lord.”

And yet, it is in moments of emptiness that we realize that “It is the Lord.”
In our darkness that we see his light and say, “It is the Lord.”
In our utter depravity and sinfulness that we cry out for redemption
and shout out, “It is the Lord.”

Where reason ends, faith begins.
And when senses fail, the heart will show the way.

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“It is I. Do not be afraid.”

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A bunch of disciples: beaten, down in defeat, fearful, in hiding,
their Master having been executed as a common criminal.
They travel at night, afraid to be discovered by day.
While crossing the sea, they see a shadow on the waters
who tells them,  “It is I. Do not be afraid.”

A little child, afraid of the dark, sees shadows he believes are monsters,
closes his eyes and close to tears in fear.
A familiar hand clasps his little hand in loving assurance
And in the darkness he hears his father’s reassuring voice, “It is I. Do not be afraid.”

Two young lovers, afraid yet excited about their future together,
uncertainty in their guts yet certain of the love in their hearts,
vow to face the world together with their unspoken promise to each other,
“It is I. Do not be afraid.”

A man beaten down by the challenges of bringing home the bacon
feels lost and unsettled, not knowing where or how to move forwards
is wrapped in the loving embrace of his wife
who whispers into his ears, “It is I. Do not be afraid.”

A feeble mother, lying in bed with a lingering illness, knows that the end is near.
Yet, she is fearful for she does not know what lies ahead.
She tried to find comfort in her memories but her memory has long been gone.
And then she feels the warmth embrace of her daughter
who reassures her, “It is I. Do not be afraid.”

 

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My Way, My Choice

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So I have decided to follow him who said,  “I am the way and the truth and the life.”

What if the Christ I believe in was merely a mortal and not a god at all?
I would still choose to follow him for he has shown us a way to live,
devoting his life to serving, saving and satisfying people around him.
He taught the great commandment of love,
which is the only sensible choice in a world gone mad
with irrational pride and insatiable greed.

What if the eternal life he promised does not exist and life indeed ends in death?
would still believe in him because my faith in him has given me
a real taste of heaven on earth.
I think of and am grateful for the family and friends
I have in life who share this belief in him
and have made my life one happy, fulfilling journey.
I would die happy and not mind if there were nothing else after.
Our common belief in Christ have made for many moments of grace and true blessings. But with the gift of Faith, this stoic resignation is transformed
into a joyful expectation of “the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting!”

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Shunning the Prosperity Gospel

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Disturb us, O Lord
when we are too well-pleased with ourselves
when our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little,
because we sailed too close to the shore.

In my life journey, I have made the conscious and deliberate effort to follow the way of Christ. I have found strength, inspiration and deep meaning in doing so. In time of difficulties, I found guidance in his words and actions. In times of joy, I understood the reason and source of my blessings.

One thing has bothered me in recent days. I may have been influenced to a significant degree by the Prosperity Gospel. I am sincere in being thankful foe God’s blessings in my life. But sometimes, I catch myself trying to do God’s will and follow his son Jesus in order to be favored by his blessings. I often find myself assuming that my default situation in life is to be so blessed that I would be free of problems and troubles and that all the Lord wanted for me was an easy and comfortable life.

And yet, if I pay close attention to the person I have chosen to follow; I would see and hear a totally different message. He did not promise an easy life for his disciples. In fact, he warned them that they will have to take up the cross, the ultimate symbol of ultimate pain and suffering during those times. He asked his would-be followers to leave everything behind, everything that gave them a sense of security, comfort and certainty. Including family, home, and possessions. He shunned the rich and mingled with the poor. He blessed the weak, the widows, and orphans, the fringes and rejects of society.

When I pray for blessings in terms of an easy and comfortable life for myself and my dear ones, might I not be missing the message and the challenge of Christ? Am I to be blessed with comforts and possessions? Or, am I to be the channel of blessing for others, not getting these blessing myself?

Now that I am being emptied in this latter part of my journey, I need to heed this Gospel of Christ that does not try to do away with pain suffering but rather recognizes its salvific and transformative power in my life.

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