Monday, July 14, 2008

More Than Words

The parable of the sower explains why the Word of God does not produce the fruit it must bear in the life of a Christian. In summary, it says that the Word of God must be given the right conditions in order to be effective. Just as a seed, when placed in unfavorable conditions would not grow and bear fruit, the Word of God, would not fulfill its purpose when improperly received.

The Lord Jesus is considered the greatest man who ever lived because of His Words and Deeds. Of course, for us Christians, He is God. His Word is essential to us. His Word is a must for us. But it is also a fact that even non-Christians hear and believe in His Word. His Word penetrates the heart of any person, believer or not.

But He was not only known for His Word. His Word finds fulfillment in His Deed. The Lord Jesus has set an example. Words are not enough. Deeds should compliment them. Unless the Word of the Lord is put  into action by believers, it can not give the benefit Jesus promised with it. Words point to actions and realities. They can not remain as a combination of letters or an utterance. They must find a home in our actions. Words only has meaning when put into action.

It follows then that the best condition for the Word of God is by acting on it. More specifically, by living it. What is heard must be understood, reflected , and lived. Only when it is lived will it be able to produce and bear fruit in the our lives. It is clear then that for the Lord Jesus, salvation is more than the spoken and heard Word of God. Salvation is attained in the lived Word of God.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Salvific Factor

When confronted with a situation, what are the common questions or concerns? What are the considerations? Some would say, " How much money will I gain from it?". Others would prefer, "What will make me happy?". Or, "What will my father (or any recognized and idolized authority) say or do?". Still, there are those who would ask, "Will it stabilize me?", or other similar questions. It is interesting to note that the questions we ask limit the answers we get or we want. In the secular world, the above maybe considered relevant and important questions. But in the spiritual world, these questions are less relevant or material. In faith, particularly the Catholic faith, the most relevant question is, "Will it save?". In fact, this is the key question to all the pronouncements and teachings of the Lord Jesus. The only way we can understand His teachings is to put them in the context of faith and salvation; forgiveness, martyrdom, suffering, self-emptying, loving enemies, generosity, prayer etc. All of the teachings of the Lord only have meaning for the purpose of salvation.

As believers, we can not live without our faith. Our life is our faith and vice versa. The salvific factor can never be factored out of the equation. It is a constitutive element of life. It is, in fact, the reason and destiny of human life. We eat, drink, sleep, work, pray, sacrifice, forgive, love, hope, etc., for salvation. Anything less would have made us live in vain. Without it, life in this world will be frustrating. All other purposes would have left us without a meaningful destiny.

The next time you are confronted in life with challenges and difficulties, ask, "Will this save?". If it does, go through it in faith. Jesus will be there to help us through!

Everything is geared towards salvation. The difference of a Christian lies in the

Monday, July 7, 2008

He Carries Us!

The Lord Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest!" No doubt, these are very consoling words especially because it came from the Lord. Indeed, nothing can give us the perfect rest than the Lord Himself. The words apply to us all. All of us carry heavy loads. It is heavy to be born with a physical deficiency like being blind, deaf, lame etc. It is a burden to have a sickness that limits us to do things or threatens us with death. We have other kinds of burdens; physical, moral, economic, and spiritual. Who would free us from all of these burdens? Who can help us carry these burdens?

Easily, we want somebody powerful to help us out of our predicament. Easily, we want some riches to get us out of our need or poverty. Easily, we want a counselor to guide us. There is really nothing wrong with seeking the assistance of these people and these things. But are they enough? Will we finally find our peace and contentment in them? The answer is "No"! We always wanted more. The truth is, the whole world will never be enough for us. Even if we gain it, the most important is not contained in the world. The most important is in fact greater than the world. God owns and has the world. God is our enough. Our hearts will never rest until they rest in God!

Jesus said, "Seek first the Kingdom of God and all will be given unto you." It follows that if we seek anything other than God, we will have nothing! It is therefore to our benefit and goodness that we ask for the presence and assistance of Jesus. Yes, He will not do things for us but He will do it with us! His rest is joining with us to carry our burdens in this world. His rest is shouldering with us the fight against evil. His rest is being side by side with us in suffering.

Remember, when it seems that we are alone in our suffering and challenges, be assured that Jesus is with us always. It was His promise and He always fulfill it. In those instances, feel and believe that He is carrying you!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The New Fulfills The Old.

Stock Photo - gold pages on  closed book. fotosearch  - search stock  photos, pictures,  images, and photo  clipartWe just came from the hospital where tatay had a cataract operation. It was supposed to have lasted only fifteen minutes but because the cataract was already over ripe, it had changed from gelatinous to hard. In the process, it needed more time to remove and clean the eye. Anaesthesia was not anymore injected but merely applied on top. The doctor said that there were no couture's done but a small hole was made to remove the cataract and place the lens. That hole would heal in time by itself! (The wonder of the human body!) After forty five minutes, everything was done. Tatay was provided with a set of a sporty eyeglasses in order to protect the eye. During sleep, a hard plastic covering will be taped over the operated eye so that it will not be harmed. Some medicines were prescribed by the doctor (Dr. Leo Mangubat - he was very good!) will be applied for some days to completely heal the eye. After giving the post-operation orders and payment of the bills, tatay was out of the hospital

Science and technology had indeed gone a long way. I still remember my lola Celis (tatay's mother) also underwent the same operation. Back then (during the '70's) the patient need to undergo a more complex procedure, longer time of operation, more time for recovery in the hospital, and a lot of gauze's and plasters and medicines. Some amount of pain would also be experienced. Today, pain is almost zero. Many times after the operation I asked tatay if there are pains. He said there were none. Indeed, such procedures are easy these days. Procedures are more simple. If there is anything that changed, it was just the cost. They are more expensive now. But it is all worth it. Health, together with time, had been recognized as wealth. Maybe be more important than money.

But we must never forget that the progress of today is connected and dependent on the progress of the past. Present technologies could not have been achieved if not for the discoveries and mistakes (yes....including them!) of yesterday. Scientists would admit and testify to that. Most of their experiments were aided and influenced if not based on the achievements and  failures of their predecessors. The past is not only there to haunt us but specially to learn from. In fact, they are our best teachers and guides.

This should give us a lesson on humility regarding our achievements as an individual and a society. While we have accepted the terms "old", "passe", "traditional", and even "conservative", to name some, to refer to things of the past and go as far as judging the past as inferior and useless (which to some degree is true), we sometimes miss if not totally ignore the fact that the "new", "modern", "updated", "hi-tech", and "latest", came and were influenced by them.

"The old is bad and the new is good." Avoiding these absolutes will help us appreciate things, (past, present or future) better, according to their true worth, i.e. they all belong to the whole. They constitute the whole. The world can never be without a past, a present, or a future. The world can never be without the old, the new, and the things to come. In the same way, a person or a society can not be only a present or be constituted by the modern. We are made up of all our experiences, past, present and future.

(The Old Testament was the promises of God to His People. The New Testament was the fulfillment of all these promises. It was New because of the Old. It was Old because of the New. The Old and the New converge in Jesus Christ. He was there from the beginning. He is there in the present. He will be there till the end of time. He is the Alpha and the Omega. The past, present and future unite in Jesus. In the Catholic faith, we recognize the old and the new as part of whole plan of God. Everything belongs and is a part of God's plan of salvation.)