I always believe in the power of holding on with God. There are a lot of dilemmas passed into my life which I conquered because of the wisdom behind it. Now, I am in crisis. The problems and difficulties that I am experiencing right now invite me again to hold on with God. I am judged wrongly by the people who surround me because they don’t understand me. Yes, I am an introvert, but I am also doing my best to be an extrovert in order to strike the balance always in my life. But, this is what I observed; there are really people existing here on earth whose role is to put us down when we are on the peak of our success and joy in life. Why is this unfortunate scenario an inevitable reality in our life? Why is there really a tendency for us to experience this thing which depressing and discouraging?
As I reflect upon the questions that popped-up into my mind this is what I realized; life is a series of ups and downs. In life, there’s a time for us to be happy and enjoy the beauty of it, but there’s also a time for us to be challenged and to be demanded by it. This one of the instances in our life could be compared to a rubber band. Tension happens when it is being pulled, but once it is released it goes back to its original form. It’s the same with our lives. There are times that we are okay, but there are times that we are in the midst of tensions and misunderstandings. After the entire crisis in our lives there’s an assurance of hope and starting all over again. So, to be happy once again is possible if and only if we hold on to God. Hence, there’s wisdom behind tensions and misunderstandings in life. A life without tensions and misunderstandings is a life without a sense of direction and fulfillment. Indeed, we should not be traumatized when life seems not according to it should be. Just like nature it also needs to strike a balance in order for it to be harmonious and to run smoothly along the way.
There will always be a spark of hope in every crisis that we experience in life. But, this will only be realized if and only if we hold on to God. Yes, I am in crisis now but I believe it will cast away because there’s God. From this, I realized that hope really defines what it means to keep moving on despite the inevitableness of crisis in life. I just need to keep holding on the same with before and I am confident that soon the storms and waves on my journey along the path of life will be calm with the help of God.
God loves the least ones. Why He loves them so much than the righteous, the best among the rest, and the great? He loves the least ones because they know how to humble themselves. The Sunday Gospel yesterday has the striking message for me and it’s all about following the will of God. The Sunday Gospel presented to us yesterday the different instances or episodes of the person on how he/she deals the will of God in the person of the Father and his two sons. The first son said “No” to the request of the Father to work in the vineyard, but afterwards he obeyed it. On the contrary, the second son said “Yes” to the request of the Father, but afterwards he didn’t obey it. These two scenarios in the gospel remind me of my disposition to the will of the Father. Actually, while reflecting the gospel, I was humbled by it and granted me an assurance of hope and encouragement as I always encounter the many instances of the will of God into my life. Many times I ignored and took for granted the opportunities that God is giving me always. When I feel that His will is demanding I avoid it. But, I have this tendency; how many time I said “No” to invitation of God, I cannot but follow it even though the grudges into my heart pulls me down and blocks me not to follow His invitation. To my big surprise, as I follow God’s call with grudges and pains into my heart, I didn’t realize that there are good things happening into my life which are beyond my expectations. Hence, I cannot but utter these words as I always experience this circumstances in my life; “God’s plans and ways are really unfathomable and unpredictable.”
For God, the least ones have the big deal into His heart. He knows that sometimes He is being betrayed by them, but He still loves them simply because after all the betrayals, He believes that they will really return to Him. So, He gives space and grace for those who struggle to be good and who embraced conversion into their lives. Thus, this is what I realized as I let the gospel speak into my heart; For God, it doesn’t matter for Him how many times we fall. What’s important for Him is how many times we rise up and move on into our life following His call with joy and gladness into our hearts. God hates sin, but not the sinner. We should not always forget this as we do our best in listening and following His will here on earth.
When there’s love, there’s peace. Is this still a prevalent maxim nowadays? Does this still serve as a principle of living in the world today? I guess it is not anymore given an emphasis and consideration by this generation. Conflicts between nations are becoming worse than ever. Persecution is now considered as a means for protection and upliftment. Deprivation and exploitation are now the world’s disease worse than Ebola and HIV. What’s happening now? It seems that hope is now hiding on the shadows. Corruption is now an ordinary lifestyle which cannot be fight back by sincerity and transparency. Why is there too much evil in our world today? Why good seems to lose its essence and significance in our lives? Is this world still a better place to live with?
As I reflect upon these questions quickly passing into my mind, I cannot but doubt with the essence and significance of Good today. Is this still a relevant entity into our lives? This is what I observe; as the world continues to complicate things, the more life becomes miserable and unsteady. As life becomes more miserable and unsteady today, the more Good loses its significance and value into the person’s growth and maturity. In this observation I realized that it is not the situations or the circumstances today that makes Good irrelevant in the eyes and in the heart of the postmodern person; it is we. Before we exist in this world, God gave us the rationality and will in order to spread Goodness and glad tidings on earth. But because of too much self-centeredness and too much radicalism, we thought that we are more capable to do things in our own without the intervention of God, so we interpret Good in different vantage point which speaks not anymore of love, forgiveness, and mercy, but of self-interest, accumulation, thirst of power, and money. And because of this, Good reciprocated into different names that justifies destruction and annihilation for the sake of convenience and stability.
If Nietzsche said God is dead! For me as I am continuously witnessing the evils of this world Good is dead. It may sound pessimistic, but this came out into my mind as I reflected upon the evils of today’s world. It seems that we are now going back to our fate called nihilism. It seems also that everything is becoming cheap nowadays even virtues and values. When will these thing end? The concept of the virtuous man is just like one of the fairy tales in today’s world. Domination is now the rule of the tongue and the prevailing ideology of the person. Justice? Oh I forgot, it is not anymore relevant today because it is now being duped by new concepts which give more favor the I (self) rather than the Thou. So now, am I encouraging everybody to be hopeless despite the fact that we are being surrounded by the evils of today’s world? No, we should still remain hopeful because there’s still good here on earth which is invisible to the eyes of today’s generation, i.e. God. At the end of our struggle here on earth, the Good will still remain victorious and triumphant if and only if today’s generation will realize in their hearts and minds that there’s God-the origin of Good.
Why falling in love is sometimes distressful? You want it, but you cannot have it. You feel it, but you cannot say it because it needs time and prudence. Why falling in love if it’s demanding? As I reflect upon it, there are things that I must understand and consider why falling in love must be taken seriously in life. First, falling in love is not a matter of emotion, but a matter of conviction. We fall in love not because we feel it, but because we are persons who need to be convinced that we are adequately considered “lovers”. Before we were conceived in our mother’s womb, we have been loved by God first and granted us the gift of love intended to be shared for others. So, all of us are bound to love in different aspects of life. But, if falling in love is something innate on us, why it’s demanding? To fall in love is demanding because it is sincere, it is something universal, and it is God’s initiative. We fall in love not because it is circumstantial, but because it is a call for each and every one of us. They say falling in love is the sweetest thing experience in life. For me, falling in love is not just the sweetest thing, but it is also the greatest achievement of person’s search for love. It is a fact of life that should not be underestimated. We fall in love, and we should be convincing on it because we are born to love. Although there’s a struggle besides falling in love, let us always remember that true love could only be achieved through persistent struggling and embracing its demands.
Second, falling in love is a freely-given gift and not remorse. We should always consider the fact that even though we failed to realize our potentialities to fall in love, it is always a freely-given gift. Sometimes this is our mistake; when there’s another chance to fall in love again; our tendency is to avoid it because we are afraid to suffer heartbreaks and to be fooled again. Falling in love is not remorse that we should avoid in our lives once it strikes back after the heartbreaks that we experience in life. When it comes once again into our lives, let us always remember this maxim; Love is sweeter and more achievable for the second time.
Third, falling in love follows the principle of the I and Thou relationship. Simply put, it is person-oriented. We cannot fall in love with someone unless we fall in love with ourselves. Falling in love is not just an ordinary romance (as what the world defines it), but it is also a fruit of our compassion with someone or with a certain situation. Hence, it is something relational and Christ-centered. It sees what’s beyond the person’s realities and potentialities. It’s more on actuations rather than sugar-coated words. It has no “ifs” and “buts”; it is always direct and sincere. Let us not be hesitant once we encounter this gratuity called falling in love into our lives. It always never fails us to gaze upon our uniqueness even though there are moments in life that we need to accept the truth behind pain and suffering. I would like to end this reflection with this simple analogy; falling in love is like falling into a tree. It’s tragic and painful when we experience it, but after this incident we realize that climbing a tree needs a lot of caution, patience, persistence, and perseverance. It’s the same with falling in love. It takes time to learn its significance and worth in life, but when we master it, it grants an everlasting experience of joy and happiness. Just like climbing a tree, let us never stop loving even though it takes a lot of effort and time.
Last Monday, I was reading the gospel taken from Luke which talks about the Parable of the Light. As I reflected upon the gospel, my mind was struck by one of its verses which go like this; No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lamp stand so that those who enter may see the light. Hence, this verse that captivated my attention speaks something significant for my life, i.e. to be a light for others. This verse challenges me to let my light shines before others that they may be able to see in me the good deeds that I have, and from this they may be able to glorify God by my examples. Actually, the invitation of the gospel for me made me humble. I am not worthy to be a light for others, but God believes in me so He sends to me this message in a form of enlightenment coming from this verse. I am not a good example for those who long for God’s love because I do have a lot of shortcomings in life. Like those who are struggling to be good, I too struggle to be good. But once God believes and trusts on our limited capacities, it is really a hostile invitation.
Once a light is concealed with a vessel, it will not outshine the darkness obviously. It’s the same with our lives; once we hide the goodness that we have and that is within us, people will not be able to recognize on us the presence of God in our lives. We are all good and unique in the eyes of God despite the fact that we are limited and nothing in front of Him. Unfortunately, it’s hard for us to recognize, to validate, and to be aware of this certainty into our lives, because we are so pessimistic and ashamed with ourselves.
What’s wrong with us? If we are good and unique why we let ourselves be succumbed by pessimism and absurdities? All of us are like candles with different characteristics. God gave us the same light in each and every one of us, but before He gave us the light He invited and urges us to share the same light to others so that others may do the same thing too. But, human as we are, we tend to forget our duty to share the light. So the tendency for us is to be afraid of our own dark nights in life and to have suspice others and consider them as alien into our lives and our growth. Let not our unworthiness affects our duty and capacity to share the light that God has given to us to others. Let us not hide it and take it as our own property. Light is tending to be shared so that others may see the beauty of life amidst darkness and frailties.
Let us try to look around us. What do you see? There’s beauty around us right even though there are a lot of conflicts that are happening around us. God shared everything to us, so we enjoy it today just like the light. The sun is shared by God to everybody and not just for a group of individuals. When there is darkness, we tend to look for a light in order to outshine the hovering darkness around us. It’s the same with our life. God gave us life in order to be shared and not to be abused. He gave us also reason and will in order to be used for good, and not to use it as a means for harm and personal interest. Everything that He gave to us is not concealed and hidden into our senses. Hence, let us do the same thing as God set to us an example of sharing. It’s nice to see that every one of us enjoys the sun that brings light, joy, and comfort even though darkness is an inescapable reality into our lives.
God’s thoughts and ways are not the same with ours. God knows what is proper and good for us, so the only thing that we should do in order to know and understand His plan for our lives is to participate and cooperate in His will. He “hired” us for a purpose and mission, so we should not degrade ourselves that our existence here on earth has no meaning at all. Our life is purpose-driven so we are being called by God to do His will every day. At the end of the day, just like the laborers in the gospel for today, we are being called by God to receive our “pay” as we do our best in following His will. But, only to find out that the cost we received from our effort in following His will is but as usual daily “wage” the same with others who have just only been called by God at the moment they seek Him and found Him. At first, we will react immediately that this is unfair and unjust, but at hindsight, there’s a lesson that we should understand, consider, and be aware of.
The gospel for this Sunday does not talk about the “wage’ itself which the laborers received; but it talks about the generosity of God which is equal for all of us. As we are being called by God, He does not expect only for the result of our labor, but more importantly on how we respond to His call. Simply put, God is not a result-oriented God. Even though sometimes we fall short in answering to His call, He still shows His generosity to us which is unconditional and compassionate. God does not also play favorites. He treat us equally regardless of the kind of person that we are-righteous or sinner. His grace is sufficient for all of us, and the only manner that we should present to Him is our capacity to receive His grace with joy and contentment.
Actually, we are far from the characteristic of God as a considerate God. We are result-oriented individuals. We exert our efforts according to the expectations of the people around us. We strive with our best not for maturity, but for excellent grades or better results because the world of today shows to us this idea; better result is equal to better opportunities and less worries. On the contrary, a poor result is equal to poor opportunities and more worries. We are the ones who invented these things which created a lot of complexities in life. Why crave for excellent grade and better results if God doesn’t need these things but only our growth, and our maturity? Hence the gospel of today is challenging us to deepen our obedience towards His call. Obeying is not all about striving for the sake of fulfilling the expectations of others and to crave for better results; it’s all about our generous response and generous following towards His call and to be contented on what God could give as a cost for obeying His will. It’s demanding, but this is what the gospel means by loving God with all our heart and soul and strength.
Looking back to my past experiences, I cannot but ask myself; how far have I give in considering those things and instances in my life which made me aware of my own fragility? Indeed, I could say that somehow I improve, and I cannot also deny the fact that there are things in my life that I really need to pay attention too. As I reflect upon and look back on my past experiences in life, I realize that my own brokenness is not something to be ashamed of, but it is something to be proud of. For me, to be born weak and fragile is a grace because it leads me to see the immensity of God’s love more clearly and more closely if and only if I really accept into my life that I too am weak and broken.
At first, I cannot really accept the fact that I was born weak and fragile like many others because I am afraid to commit mistakes and failures on some aspects in my life. I am a perfectionist before. I would really make sure that everything is okay and according to my standards and expectations. But this is not always the case. I still commit failures and mistakes despite the fact that I really strive to do it well. So, I ended up frustrated in life. From this experience I realize that I cannot please everyone in my own effort and diligence. I am just a limited being who needs to be corrected and to be improved.
Those who say that the weak has no place in this world are those who do not know how to accept and forgive themselves totally. They are those who distort their own identity and are dishonest in front of others. I am proud that I was born weak and fragile. Because of my weaknesses and fragility, I became more considerate towards others. My weaknesses and fragility help me really have a better perspective in life. Hence, St. Paul is right in saying that there’s strength within our weaknesses and fragility, and the only thing that we should do in order to recognize it is to appreciate it and welcome it into our lives.
We should not be terrified whenever one day we realize that we are weak and fragile. Rather, we should be proud of it because though we are weak, God consider us as earthen vessels of His grace. God’s love is sufficient and enough for us even though we are weak and fragile because He does not play favorites. Why we should be ashamed of ourselves if God is so proud to us although we fail Him for so many times? Why doubt with yourself if God considers you as an apple of His eye simply because you are unique? We should not be naive with ourselves; rather we should always remember that even if we are born imperfect God will never abandon us. If God regard us significant into His heart, let us not stumble on the idea that we are nothing; we have something to be happy about despite the fact that we fail so many times. Hence, we should not forget that we are adequately considered unique persons who are full of potentials and capacities even though in some aspects we are bound to be vulnerable.