Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Greed Destroys Happiness

Smith and the head teacher were standing near the playground where the children were frolicking to their heart’s content. He asked the headmaster: “Why is it that everyone wants to be happy, but so few ever are?” The teacher looked at the playground and answered: “Those children seem to be really happy.” “Why shouldn’t they be? said Smith. “All they do is play. But what keeps the grownups from being happy like that?” “The same thing that can keeps children from being happy.” When he said that he reached into his pocket, pulled out a handful of copper coins and threw them among the playing children. Suddenly all laughter stopped. The children tumbled over one another, fought and argued. Then the teacher said to Smith: “Well, what do you think ended their happiness?” (Gods must be crazy)

My dear brothers and sisters, the readings today invites us to reflect on Greatness. Who and what makes a person great and what defines a true greatness from a worldly greatness. We always wanted to be great. We always have the desire to be somebody or to be recognized. There are as many ways to become great as there many reasons why one would wish to be great. Why? Because we think that if we become somebody or we become great we will find happiness in it or we will surely become happy. Unfortunately it is not the reality. Only those who sought for genuine greatness became truly happy in the end. Happy in the end after many trials and struggles in life to be happy.

One way to be great is to cheat. Cheating in class is one good example of wanting to be someone, in wanting to be recognized as the best student of all. Another way is to impose on others and feel like he is the boss and the only authority in the whole community. It doesn’t make one seminarian great or the best if one can command everyone to do his RT project rigidly. Another way to be great is assert all the efforts and go on his own way and walang pakialam kung sino masagasaan nya.

My dear friends it is not wrong to have the desire to be great and be somebody. What is to be checked is the means of becoming great. What is bad is the wrong motivations why one wants to be great. It is not by the act of serving and by the deeds in helping people that one makes a person great but it is the reason behind the service that makes a person great. It is the heart that makes who the person is or that which makes the work great. If the heart is greedy and wants only to be fulfilled that is why he wants to serve or help people, it is not a genuine service. If the heart desires only to fill himself in order to be happy or let say he only help/serve because he feels happy seeing those whom he had helped becomes happy or became well, it is not yet a complete or a genuine greatness. What makes a service or a work great is that when one does something for others not for his own purpose in life but for the reason that he wants to share the Love that God has made him felt. If he wanted to love because he finds God in that person.

Jesus taught his disciples that the Son of Man has to suffer...die.. and rise again. This is the way to be great. First he is doing it because of Love. He is doing god’s will out of love. He is sharing the love of the Father. He is implying to us that if one would wish to become great, one would undergo suffering (not always joy and affirmation), THAT ONE WOULD DIE from his own self. Die from his own desires in life, die from prestige and for being someone in this world for in the end that person who had suffered.. died... will rise again.. maybe not physically but his name remains forever... like Rizal, John Paul II, etc.

My dear brothers and sisters, if we want to be great, let us ask the Father to give us the grace to purify our motivations in wanting to be someone in the seminary, in the class, in the society, in our place of work, in everyday life. Let us continuously check our desires whether we do it for the sake of glorifying God or glorifying our own self.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Be Miracles

The first reading is a part of a series of statements of James in order to defend or to support his thesis that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone; that the body is dead without its spirit and faith without deeds is also dead. How? James tells us today that if we can show who we are by our own actions. If we think that we are wise, it has to be seen in our day to day living. If we say that we are good, that I am good, it should reflect from what I do and from what I act. He also posits the danger of showing off specially if ones heart is full of bitterness and very ambitious. In other words, if one’s heart is not pure, do not show off that you are great or the best because surely, it will cause a lot of trouble. It will just cause evil. It will bring you no good. Diba pag may isang taong mayabang na sumemplang sa ginawa sinasabi natin.. yan kasi.. gaba… ang yabang kasi wala naman palang binatbat. Wherever you find jealousy and ambition, you find also evil and discord. While on the otherhand, those who are humble people, naturally humility comes from a simple and a loving heart – these are people who continue to be in relationship, continues to communicate with God, prayerful and peace keeping people… produces good works. They are impartial and sincere. Many good things comes out of them.

In the Gospel reading we have heard that a boy with a dumb and deaf spirit was brought to Jesus because when that boy was brought to the disciples, they were not able to heal that boy. The disciples wondered why they were not able to perform a miracle. My dear sisters and brothers, an ordinary true miracle is not something that alters nature, or a sign that can be seen. It is a fruit of the goodness of 1) God, 2) of a person, 3) of a group of people. Miracles happen from a person who are truly wise, who are good. Miracles flows out from these people. Jesus is an example of this kind of person. He has a pure hear, has good intentions in life, goodness flows from him that’s why, aside from being god who is the source of all goodness, he is able to perform miracles for people. The disciples were not able because they were looking for signs as we have heard in the readings last week, they are fighting over whose going to be the great, they are performing or doing things because they wanted to be somebody, to be known. The motivations are not pure. Prayer, according to Jesus is the best medicine for this. Why prayer, because in prayer you communicate with the source of all goodness. Sabi nga ni Fr. Vic kahapon, we are filled by this goodness. We become full of goodness. Prayer calms us down, it purifies us, our intentions. Prayer makes us belive in all things, hope in all things, have faith in God. Prayer gives us peace of mind, it gives us the power to heal, to make someone feel loved. It is the antonym, the opposite of cursing. A prayer from a pure good heart brings wellness and betterment.

My dear brother seminarians, if you wanted to do miracles or be miracles in life, pray. Do not be too ambitious and be showy. Start not to be so boastful in ...


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Called

Id like to begin with the words a Dominican once told me when I asked whether I can join their order. He posited a question to me which I then took it as an insult so I did not pursue joining them. The statement was “Have you really heard the voice telling you that you should become a priest, tinawagan ka bas a telepono o baka naman illusion mo lang yan.” I never thought of what was at the back of his mind when he confronted me with that question. Later I realized way back when I was already a postulant, that he was just trying to discern on the call, on the invitation of God.

Discernment and recognition of the call is necessary. Then once we realize what is this call, we start to find its true meaning. What is this vocation? I am reminded of the answers of our dear seminarians there in the sigaw board at the 2nd floor of Rafael Briega Hall. Some said that vocation is …

“Callings have led people to great accomplishments.” Why does it become great? Because if the calling truly comes from god, it is for sure a call of love, a call to love (CALL OF LOVE, CALL FOR LOVE). Authentic calling proceeds from the source of LOVE who is GOD and it is felt in the assembly of God or the Church, in the chosen ones, in each individual or neighbor. Each one of us is CALLED, we are all called by name. We are called in many ways, in many walks of life. We are called by God unconditionally. Vocation is not just about priesthood… its about everything in this world. I, you are invited to take the vocation of priesthood. Our parishioners here were called to the vocation of married life. Our religious sisters are called to a life of holiness and in living out the charisms of their founder. Each of these if we carefully analyze, leads to only one reason LOVE. VOCATION is about LOVING. VOCATION IS about being Loved by God. To be an ordained is to be a mirror of the unconditional love of God. To marry is to love each other unconditionally. Vocation is the condition of every individual wherein one is loved by God, compelled to love his flock, his/her husband/wife, her community… offering one’s life for a friend. (diba for those na mga nakaranas ditto manligaw.. magsuyo ng sinisinta…I presume you know what i mean.. as well as to those who are married here and those who have children of their own.. you know how it is to truly love your blood relations.) Vocation is not just a state of good life but it is a call to suffer for the sake of loving, a call to uncertainty and giving up of many personal interests…and that’s true to all types of vocation.

Today is the feast of the apostle Mathias. He was called, elected not to be served but to serve the assembly of God. Same with us, he was chosen, they discerned about it, he was not forced, there was a process that took place. Matthias was chosen to Love, to continue the living memory of their beloved Master, our Lord Jesus Christ.

My dear brothers and sisters, we are challenged by the saint of the day and the readings we have just heard, to nurture our own individual vocations, our individual calling. How do we nurture it and take care of it? We only have to go back to the meaning of Vocation. Let it be imprinted in our hearts that in order for us to be true to this vocation of ours, simply follow the prescription of Christ – lay down your life for your friend. Love unconditionally.