“You will remain in my love if you keep my commandments.”
And here I thought God’s love is unconditional. Well obviously, I thought wrong. Well, He has every right because He is God and He is wise afterall. He knows that the only way He can push us to be the best that we can be for Him and for ourselves is by giving us a set of guidelines to follow. Although He’s clearly a rules kind of guy or rather God, He is far from cruel. He works along the principle of rewards rather than punishment. And although He has set simple and practical conditions for us to remain in His love, He is not one to jump at every chance to scream, “Go to hell!” whenever we fail to follow one of His commandments. Instead, He provides us an all-day access to the confessional, “lifelines” that can last a lifetime, 24/7 prayer hotlines, and best of all, unlimited chances of winning a one way ticket to heaven. Thats how badly He wants us to always have our eyes on the prize, that’s how badly He wants us to win the prize—His amazing love.
“When he arrived and saw the manifest signs of God’s favor, he rejoiced and urged them all to remain firmly faithful to the Lord; for he, himself, was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith. Thus, large crowds came to know the Lord.”
I know this funny old lady who can make us laugh with her wisecracks and her silly antics. It’s a joy to be around her not only because she can send you in fits of laughter in an instant but also because having lived the faith, she can make you see the wisdom behind God’s work and action whenever you’re lost or unsure of where He is in your life. She is my life peg because I have seen and heard the Holy Spirit work through her countless times and I have witnessed how she has anchored herself and her family firmly to the Lord. And I say this with all gratefulness and humility, I wouldn’t be where I am right now spiritually if not for her gentle yet insistent prodding. The Lord in all His goodness will send us one of his guides to teach us how to walk by faith, the moment you find or recognize him/her in your life, pray for that person so he/she will continue to bring not just you but others too closer to the Lord. You are always in my prayers Anne Adizon.
“There was a disciple in Joppa named Tabitha, which means Dorcas or Gazelle. She was always doing good works and always helping the poor.”
If there is one person in this world who knows the true meaning of discipleship, goodness, and charity like Tabitha, it is our mothers. They trust, accept, and follow the will of the Lord with blind faith and always work at raising their children, their family, in the same goodness of the Lord. They are the true masters too when it comes to the art of loving, giving, and sharing. The fact that they continue to be our source of joy, strength, security, and love despite practically carrying the whole weight of the world on their shoulders says much about how truly inspiring and remarkable they really are. We should ALWAYS pray for them, not just this Mother’s day, so that they will always find the strength and the desire to continue the wonderful work that they alone can do everyday.:)
Gospel reflection: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall never be hungry, and whoever believes in me shall never be thirsty.”—The other day while I was going through my newsfeed in instagram, I came across this picture of a bible with these words stamped all over it: DAILY BREAD, DON’T LET YOURSELF STARVE. It made me smile because one it was outright witty and funny, and two, there’s so much truth in it. I discovered that when no amount of explanation can satisfy my cravings for answers on things I can’t seem to understand in my life, turning to the daily scripture or doing some kind of spiritual reading helps. Though it may not clearly state the answers to all my problems, it does make me gain a deeper understanding of how the Lord works to deliver His promises. And this practice, as always, leaves me with little room for yearning but more room for witnessing how the Lord moves to fill my cup to overflowing.
“Brothers and sisters, you call upon a Father who makes no distinction between persons, but judges, according to each deeds; take seriously, then, these years which you spend in a strange land.”
I remember years ago, I had this Grade 1 mentee who came up to me and whispered conspiratorially, “Mrs. Dela Cruz, did you know that doing good deeds is the easiest way to get to heaven?” I couldn’t help but play along and so I whispered back, “Really, so what good deeds have you done so far?” To my surprise, she straightened up, looked at me squarely in the eye and announced triumphantly, “I’ve decided that I’m going to heaven the hard way!” And with that she left me in a huff laughing helplessly after her. My friend and I have a challenge between ourselves, that is to do at least one unique, definitely not the usual, really-go-out-of-your-way kind of good deed everyday. Honestly it was quite hard to do at first especially when your instinct tells you to do otherwise but surprisingly, I realized it is possible. It is just a matter of training the heart, hands, and mind.
Philip answered him, “Two hundred days wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little.”
I can just imagine the worry in Philip’s voice when he was telling Jesus his estimation of their food on hand as against the crowd. I can almost guess whats on his mind, he probably was thinking, uh-oh we’re in for a big trouble there’s no way we can feed a hundred with just five barley loaves and two fishes. I used to drive myself crazy too whenever I try to estimate the possible damage to my pocket as against my actual resources whenever unexpected expenses come along. I sometimes tend to forget that the Lord accurately provides and in most cases, forgets His Math too for he would often give more than what I actually need. He’s clearly not a Math Whiz, only a super generous God.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…”
I remember when Bianca was about three years old, I used to read to her the book, Guess How Much I Love You. It was one of our favorite bedtime stories. And everytime I would get to the part where I would read and say, I love you right up to the moon and back, it never fails, she would squeal in delight. If children and most especially we adults can easily relate to this measure of love, then we won’t find it hard also to understand the magnitude of God’s perfect love when He gave up His only son for us. This got me thinking, as the receiver of such love, how far can I really stretch myself, how far am I really willing to go, and what can I really give up for the Lord to return back this big favor? And then I see a list of endless possibilities and so I leave this note and challenge to myself: Give it up. Offer it up. For the Lord.
“The whole assembly shouted and blessed God, for helping those who hope in Him.”
I am blessed to be part of a community of faithfuls who never get tired of celebrating the goodness of the Lord with me. They’ve been with me through the worst and the best of times. I like that they consider my struggles and journeys as well as my little and big triumphs in faith, as their own. There is always great joy in knowing that a lot are actually celebrating with you whenever God answers your prayers or grants your petition. It all the more restores, affirms, and strengthens your trust and faith in the power of the Almighty.
“Yahweh made it known to me and so I know.”
I don’t claim to know the answers to everything, but I do claim to know what to do when faced with a difficult situation. You turn to prayers. You turn to God. And believe it or not, what does not make sense at first will suddenly become very clear. What seems vague will suddenly become glaringly obvious. God will find a way to steer you in the right direction until you come to an understanding, a decision. He will put that good desire in you heart that you cannot ignore, you will end up acting on it on impulse. To make the right decision and to take the best course of action, you simply have to trust in the wisdom and the ways of the Lord.
“Do you want to be healed?”
Many times we ask the Lord in prayer to completely heal us of whatever affliction we have—suffering due to an illness, pain due to a broken relationship, hopelessness or despair due to bad experiences. We wait and hope for that miracle of healing to happen soon. If there’s one thing I know now, it is that the miracle of healing does not happen overnight, it takes a little bit of time and a whole lot of effort on our part before it actually happens. And in most cases, we cause the miracle, God only provides us with the grace. So when we pray, aside from asking God to heal us completely, lets also ask Him for the grace to face our difficult situation with strength, courage and deep faith. And then with full intent and purpose, lets work and cause our very own miracle of healing to happen soon.