Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Do you give justice to the goodness of God?

(January 30, 2012 Reflection, re-posted)

In the Philippines, there's an association of Religious Brothers.  As a religious brother before, I attended a national convention of this association in Bacolod sometime in the late 1990s.  One of the speakers was a brother from Davao. Since he had knowledge that I can play musical instruments, he asked me play the guitar while another brother sang a song as part of his speech.  While practicing, he asked to compose a song about the life of brothers.  I just smiled.  But this brother was so serious that he jokingly commented, but I think he was really serious, that I am not giving justice to the talent God has given me.  Boom!!! It was long time ago but I could still remember his words.

I remember this incident in relation to the gospel reading of today (Mark 4:21-25)  .  Jesus asked this question, "Is a lamp brought in to be put under a bushel, or under a bed, and not on a stand?"  Jesus was telling us that if you are given a gift you should not just hide it but share.  It is like goodness.  An act of charity can never be charity at all when not extended to others. 

Our gospel today is a command, not a reminder.  The world needs people who will be models, not just preachers.   The culture of death is pulling down the spirit of goodness.  It is not enough that as Christians we remain hidden in our own shell.  We cannot just ignore the injustices that are happening around.   We need witnesses who will become lights to the world.
The Church needs Christians who will put their lambs outside so that many people will be enlightened to the values of the gospel.  In Mindanao, Philippines, the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) are growing.  This is the hope of the Church.  On the other hand, there are also other groups within the Church which provide spiritual nourishment to the people.  

We can count some of these like the Couples for Christ, Bukas Loob ng Diyos, Focolare, Charismatic Group, Parish Renewal Experience, and many more.  Moreover, another group is gaining support and drawing more and more people.  It is The Feast.  Founded by Bo Sanchez, the feast is a gathering of people from all walks of life.  This is a gathering of sinners and saints.  So many people are blessed because of this community.  The Feast is done every Sunday with the biggest group meeting at PICC, Manila.  To date there are already 70 Feasts all over the world.

Bo Sanchez puts his light outside so that many people will see God.  So that there will be more lights, Bo multiplies himself by developing leaders, preachers and feast builders.  His vision is to build 1,000 feasts all over the world.

In our individual lives, we are also called to be the light for others.
Do you have talents?  Share.
Do you have unlimited load?  Forward nice quotes or Bible verses.
Do you possess writing skills?  Write about God, love, kindness, charity and compassion.  Write about good news.
Do you like talking?  Preach.
Do you have a family? Love
Do you follow God's will?  Be the light for others.
Give justice to God's goodness to you.

May your dreams be blessed.

Randy T.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Do you know your brothers and sisters?

by Randy Tudy
Do you experience being insulted in front of many people?

One interesting story in the Bible is the gospel of today (Mark 3:31-35).  Jesus' mother and brothers arrived in the house where Jesus was preaching with so many people surrounding Him.  Having difficulty of entering the house, they asked that Jesus be notified that they are outside soaking wet in perspiration under the scorching heat of the sun.  I could just imagine the suffering of Jesus' mother and his brothers while waiting outside, after all they are supposed to be VIPs  because of their relationship to Jesus.
I think they were so excited to be given a privileged pass to the house.  It did not happen.  I could also imagine their shame when Jesus responded to the notice.  Jesus said, "Who is my mother and who are my brothers?"  Boom!!! The VIPs lost their status.  Jesus continued, "My mother and my brothers are those who listen to the Word of God."  Then pointing to those around Him Jesus explained, "Here are my mother and brothers.  For whoever does the will of my Father is my mother, sister and brother."

Let us not interpret the verses literary as if Jesus insulted His mother and brothers.  Jesus, in this passage, was emphasizing the importance of listening to the Word of God.  As we celebrate Bible Week, let us be reminded of what Jesus said.  It is an inspiration to see people using the Bible in their meal prayers at home or Bible study at home.  The Bible continues to be a source of inspiration for many people.  It is also a challenge to be active, full and conscious especially during the Bible reading in our Church services.  God is speaking to us through these means.

But wait!  The story did not end on listening the Word of God.  Jesus added that whoever does the will of the Father is His mother, sister and brother.  Thus, it is not enough to just listen to the Word of God.  The Word of God should guide us in following His will.  That's why after the mass, the priest would say, "Go in the peace and love of God!"  That is a sending forth telling the people to do the WILL of God.

What is the implication of this gospel for us, Christians?  Jesus gave us a very important lesson.
LISTEN & FOLLOW.  First, we listen to the Word of God by reading the Bible or listening to it in the Church or wherever opportunity presents. After listening, give time to reflect.  Put the Word of God in practice. That is doing the will of the Father.  Then, we are worthy to be called JESUS' mother, sister or brother.

Randy T.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Do you ask, "God, help me"?
Do you wonder why people in the countryside are closer to each other than those in the city?  Well, it seems that everybody is a neighbor in the countryside even if they live and is separated by mountains.  As a kid, I love those experiences of almost knowing the people in our village.  What makes our relationship stronger is how we care for each other.  

One practice, which I suppose is not anymore done today, is the manianita.  I don't know if that is the correct spelling but it is like this. When one member of our Basic Ecclessial Community (BED) or Gagmay'ng Kristohanong Katilingban (GKK) celebrates a birthday, a group GKK members will visit the house, sing songs, conduct prayer session and give wishes for the celebrator.  I usually part of the team since I am the guitarist (already playing the guitar that time). By the way, this is done at dawn.  Just imagine we have to walk in the dark because we don't want to be detected we are coming.  There have been funny anecdotes to this experience like falling in the canal, bumping a tree, or being chased by dogs.

Anyway, we start singing upon reaching the vicinity.  After sometime we are allowed to enter the house and the ritual follows.  One ritual exercise is to ask the birthday celebrator to open any page of the Bible.  After doing it, our prayer leader will read a portion of that page.  What surprises me is every time a passage in the Bible is read, there's always a relationship or meaning to the one celebrating.  As a kid, I am so amazed how our prayer leader explains the passage and relate it to the life of the celebrator.  I think it's a miracle of God.

Later on, i realize that the whole Bible is indeed about our life.  Have you ever noticed every Sunday when we attend Church service?  The readings have always been related to our life.

This realization brings me to the conversation I had this morning with Rowela.  This friend was into a deep crisis in her life.  I listened to her.  She poured out her heart.  There was a time when she boldly say, "God, help me." The good thing was it was 1 month ago.  She is a different person now.  When I asked how did she manage to survive such a terrible ordeal, she enumerated her angels such as friends and family members.  Moreover, there was something she emphasized and it was the advice of her parents.  She was told to read the Bible and go to Church.

That was the turning point.  When she listened to the Word of God and participated in the Christian community in fellowship, her mind was open.  Later on, blessings come pouring in. 

I know a lot of you reading this article can attest to the power of the Word of God.

Do you have a friend who is in crisis or in deep trouble?  You know what to suggest.

Have a meaningful Bible Week celebration to all!

May your dreams be blessed.

Randy T.

Do you have a constant lamp in your journey?

Have you heard that song?  "Thy word is the lamb unto my feet and the light unto my path."
Beautiful song. Today, the Church celebrates BIBLE SUNDAY.  

I could still remember when I was a kid.  I always received an award for perfect attendance during the whole month of May Flores de Mayo.  Our chapel catechist was an excellent teacher.  Although I encountered many teachers from elementary to post graduate studies, no one can beat my non-professional teacher, our chapel catechist.  She was just so effective that we really looked forward for the Bible lessons as part of the Flores de Mayo activity.  I could still remember her using a picture Bible.  That was the only one in our place.

As a young kid, I was very familiar with stories in the Bible so much so that I don't anymore pay attention to the Sunday readings at our chapel because I know already the story.  

Fast forward, after more than 30 years, I could still remember those stories.  The Word of God has so much impact in my life that I became an altar boy until high school.  I entered the religious formation and became a brother.  When I left the convent, I continued to work as a director of the Campus Ministry Office.  The Word of God has become part of my life both personal and professional.  Even when I teach non-religious subjects, I still inculcate about God, about Jesus.  Where did I learn knowledge?  The Bible.

The Word of God has been the lamp in my journey.  It has guided me in my most difficult moments.  I might not be a regular reader but I make it sure to go to Church every Sunday to listen to His words.
Friends, get your Bible. Open, read, study  and pray over it.

"Other books were given for our information,  the BIBLE was given for our transformation"- The Defender.

May your dreams be blessed.

Randy T