Monday, 25 February 2013

Simple ways to enjoy life
Have you heard someone commented, "Ang baba naman ng kaligayahan ng taong 'to!", literally translated as shallow happiness.  

I thought about the comment and tried to reflect if it was a negative or positive compliment.  I would rather focus on the positive one.  If little things can make me happy, I would continue enjoying them.  Before I used to bring some of my choir members to the beach where we had bonding time while smelling the freshness of the cool air and watching the moon and its reflection on the water.

Truly, I was enjoying life.  Just thinking about these experiences, I could relate to the joy of children playing in our neighborhood.  While writing this, I could hear their laughter.

There are many ways to enjoy life without looking for it somewhere else.  It's ok if people will tell us to have shallow level of happiness, after all it is still happiness.

God has given us everything to be happy.  His beautiful creation alone is a source of joy in many ways.The key is to discover God's blessings in our life.

Watch this video fro my mentor Bo Sanchez and learn how to enjoy life the easiest way.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

You can experience transfiguration (change for life)

Today is Transfiguration Sunday (Luke 9:28-36).

Today is also the last day of the retreat I am handling.  We are about to end with a ritual.  While the participants are having their snacks, I take the opportunity to write this article.

The transfiguration of Jesus is an inspiration for all retreatants for the following reasons:

1. God in the mountain.  The transfiguration of Jesus happened in a mountain- Mt. Tabor.  In the Bible, God’s dwelling is symbolized in a mountain just like the experience of Moses in Mt. Sinai and Jesus in Mt. Tabor.  Most of the retreat houses are in the mountain just like where we are now- Benedictine Nuns, Cogon, Digos City.  Being here is being with God.

2. Self-transformation.  Jesus’ face was transfigured in Mt. Tabor. It is the desire of all retreat masters, with God’s blessings, that retreatants will experience a sort of self-transformation or transfiguration.   In my experience, I am blessed to witness many of these experiencse as shared by the retreatants.

3. Commissioning.  The highlight of Jesus’ transfiguration is not on the change on his face.  Jesus did not remain in Mt. Tabor.  He came down and faced his fate in Jerusalem.  After the retreat, the last activity is a ritual.  It is a commissioning activity.  What they experience in the retreat will guide them in their day to day life. In our term, they are sent as apostles of compassion.

This is for the retreatants.  However, you don’t need to go on a retreat to experience transfiguration.  In our day to day activity, there are times that God will transform us according to His plan.

Some are being transformed by a book, movies or posts in the internet.  Some are transformed by a speaker, priest, pastor or seminar facilitator.

What we need is willingness to receive God’s transforming power. 

Let the transfiguration of Jesus become our inspiration to be sensitive to God’s interventions in our day to day living.

Monday, 18 February 2013

God's goodness is multiplied through you

by Randy Tudy
Do you believe that we have a God of abundance?  Yes, God does not give tiny gifts.  He blesses us with plenty.  When God told Moses to bring the people of Israel out from Egypt, he also promised to give them a land full of milk and honey- Abundance!

This video is about abundance.

I never expected the ending of this video clip.  This is an example of how God's love is perpetuated.     Blessed are those with a golden heart. They will receive more. Truly, this is one of the inspirational messages people will remember. It is an example of goodness being multiplied. 

What about you?  Do you receive God's love?  Your expect for more so that you can also bless others. God is indeed good.  

The best love letter intended for you

Who else would every care, love, protect, guide and provide us without counting the cost?  Who would ever sacrifice for the sake of a loved one?  Who else would ever work so hard just to provide our needs?  Our parents.  

Friends, don't forget there is SOMEONE greater than everybody else whose love never ceases.

Read and listen to HIS love letter to you.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

4 practical ways to avoid temptation

by Randy Tudy
In last Sunday’s gospel reading (Lk. 4:1-13), Jesus was tempted three times by the devil. Re-read this gospel and learn from Jesus how to fight against the devil.

I remember one incident when I took an examination during my doctoral studies.  There were around 20 of us taking this examination on a very difficult subject- Statistics.  There was one question which needed a formula.  Since I was not really good in Math much more Statistics, I really had difficulty even just understanding the questions.  Then, I saw a small piece of paper being passed around.  It was the formula.  I was really tempted to get the paper but I remembered my own students whom I always reminded to be honest during our examination. That thought alone kept me away from temptation.

In any given moment, we also had our own share of temptations.  Temptation is not a problem.  It is how we react to it which can either make or destroy our life, career, family or dreams.

Here are some ways on how to avoid temptation.

1. Stay away from temptation.  If you know it’s going to destroy yourself, then by all means stay away from it.  I sternly warn my students to choose the best friends or peers who can help and support in attaining their dreams.   For married persons, stay away from peers who have lots of vices which would lead to infidelity.  In short, stay away from things, events, persons or places which you consider sources of temptation.

2. Fight against temptation.  In one of my travels abroad, I met Gary who had been an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) for a good number of years. He shared something that made me realize how difficult it is for a married man to be away from home.   For him to fight temptation, he devoted his free time in the internet communicating through Skype with his wife and children.  In other words, fighting against temptation is to recognize it and find ways to get away from it.   You have to choose your battle which you believe is on your side.

3. Make yourself busy.  According to St. Benedict, idleness is the work of the devil.  I agree.  Have you noticed when you don’t do anything there are so many things that come to your mind?  Good if these are good thoughts.   Making ourselves busy with productive things keep us away from evil thoughts and deeds.

4. Pray. This might be the most common advice we receive when we ask a friend for help.  Well, nothing beats the power of prayer.   In the “Our Father”, it is there that we ask God to deliver us from temptation. 

Jesus was victorious against the temptations of Satan.  First, he did not let temptations ever have an impact on him.  Second, he fought against them by constantly telling the devil about the Scriptures and His obedience to the Father.  Third, Jesus was focused on his mission that temptations have no place in him.  Fourth, Jesus prayed.  Temptations had no power over him.

Learn from Him.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Guide for a healthy relationship
The last memorable Valentine's day I had (memorable because I could obviously remember almost all details) was in 2011. How could I forget that memorable day when I proposed to my girlfriend?  Yes, it was very memorable because I didn't even know what to expect.  I am not really an expressive person when it comes to my feelings.

Yesterday, I had another memorable Valentine's day.  It was a different celebration.  While most lovers were in the restaurants, parks or any places conducive for the celebration, we were in the church, the church of my wife.  There were praise and worship, sermon, ritual for couples, games and sumptuous dinner at a very affordable price.  

Coincidentally, the preacher was also the one who presided over our marriage 2 years ago.  I would like to share my own thoughts about his topic on intimacy.

There are 5 kinds of intimacy which are non-negotiable for any relationships.

1. Emotional Intimacy.  It refers to understanding each other's feelings.  Couples or those in relationships have a strong feeling for each other.
2. Mental Intimacy.  I find it interesting that even in the intellectual level lovers or couples need to have intimacy.  It simply means that couples, lovers or even persons in community need to have level of  understanding.  They don't need to have similar IQ but they can easily reconcile differences in opinion. The key is understanding.

3. Recreational Intimacy. New lovers or couples have so much of recreational intimacy like having regular date.  Old couples and lovers need to have spices in their relationships through recreational activities that they both enjoy.  Religious communities also have recreation. Intimacy is developed when people enjoy doing things together.

4. Physical Intimacy. This kind of intimacy is experienced by lovers and couples in terms of each other's presence.  Consummation of marriage is only one of the gifts in marriage.  More than this is the "felt" presence of each other.  As Fr. Tagle (now Cardinal Tagle) said, "The family that eats together, stays together." On the other hand, a good number of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) also make their presence felt even in a far away place through the internet.

5. Spiritual Intimacy.  Couples and lovers who go to church together have a strong bonding.  Couples and lovers who consciously and regularly pray together are blessed to have a beautiful relationship.  In other words, spiritual intimacy can only happen if God is at the center of any relationship.

Don't miss any of the following.  These are ingredients of a beautiful and blessed relationships.

May your dreams be blessed.

Randy T.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Reflection on Valentine's Day
"Blessed are they who hope in the Lord" is the responsorial Psalm today.  Wonderful words for all of us who put our trust in the Lord for He is our great provider, protector and unconditional lover.  Incidentally, today is Valentine's day.  Before coming home, I saw a good number of girls bringing flowers, of course one of them is my wife.

But what do our responsorial Psalm and today's celebration have in common?  Hope.

The Lord is our hope.  Valentine's day is a day of love, a day where we hope for the best in all our relationships.  As long as a lover shows importance of this day to their loved one, there is hope. As long as a loved one receives a present like flowers or chocolates, there is hope in their relationship.  Just the thought that Valentine's day is meaningful for everyone shows signs of hope for a healthy and good relationship. 

I know that this morning two of my co-teachers give flowers to their wives who happen to be also working in our school.  They are giving hope to their wives and children.  They give good examples to their students.

Valentine's day is not only a day of love.  It is a day of hope.  But we should not forget that our ultimate hope is the Lord.

In the world where broken relationships of family, friends and loved ones are common, we can still hope for the better.  It is sad to think that many those in relationships are not seeing hopes in their lives.  According to Bo Sanchez, if you see the darker side in your relationship that's only 10%.  Don't forget that 90% is still there.

This  brings me to a video I just watched today in the internet.  It shows how people see things differently. At first, people didn't recognize the beautiful painting.  It looks ugly. The ending really surprises all, including me.

Message?  We just don't see ugliness in our lives or in any situation or relationship.  As long as there is love and hope beauty would eventually reveal.  Watch this one.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013


by Randy Tudy
Today is Ash Wednesday.  It is the beginning of Lent, a 40-day season of prayer, penance and charity.

The second reading of today's readings comes from the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians.  He began by saying "Brothers and sisters, we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God is appealing through us."

These are very powerful words- AMBASSADORS for Christ. What does it really mean?

In his homily during today's mass, Fr. Rico Dingal, DCD spoke about loving the unlovable.  This is what it means to be an ambassador- to love the unlovable.  Indeed, it is not an easy task.  However, Fr. Rico offered a solution.  He said to love the unlovable one should know the story of that person.  

Many times in my mission as a teacher I encountered a number of students who seem to be the most problematic within the class.  There are students who are the topics in our discussion at the canteen or at the faculty lounge. These are common scenario in all schools.  As a human being, I have the tendency to easily like the intelligent, good-looking and well-behaved students.  The naughty ones are given less importance.

This bias changed when I became a professed brother trying to live up to the core value of our congregation which is compassion.  However, compassion only became possible when I started listening to the stories of these students.  I've come to know why they behave differently in school because they are carrying so much burden caused by personal and family problems.

When one listens, understanding sits in.  Compassion follows.
Listening and understanding are two competencies for Christ's ambassadors while compassion is charity in action.  

As we celebrate the season of Lent, let us be reminded that we are ambassadors of Christ's compassion to those in need of our listening heart and understanding mind.  

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Pope's resignation is good for the Church
Everybody is talking about the sudden, unexpected and shocking resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.  I first learned through a text message from my former teacher.  The title of this article is my reply to him.  Let me explain it this way.

1. Human Limitation.  Most of the popes in the history of the Church did not resign.  They waited until they die.  Pope Benedit XVI saw his limitation.  He knew he could not anymore function effectively considering his old age and deteriorating health. 

2. Message of humility.  The pope’s action speaks volumes of his humility.  This should be emulated by other church leaders and all Catholics in general.  Power does not mean you hold on to it even if you are not anymore capable.

3. Hope for the Church.  In any organization, having a new leader ushers full of promises.  There is expectation of change for the better. Having a new leader in the Catholic Church is a welcome development.  This is good news for the Catholic Church. There is so much to look forward to.

4. Controversy.  For sure a lot of anti-Catholics will take this development against the church.  Well, the Catholic Church had been through a lot of controversies.  God’s house will never be broken because it is His. Controversies are opportunities for the Church purification.  It has been like that in history.

5.Humanity of the Church. The pope’s resignation shows the humanity of the Church.  She is governed by human beings with limitations.  I for one salute the pope’s recognition of his weaknesses.  I hope other church leaders would also be in touch with their humanity and feel the real needs of the people.

6. Lessons learned.  There are many lessons Catholics will learn from the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.  Aside from the aforementioned ones, his resignation speaks of the true character of a leader.  His pure intention is for the good of the Church.  He does not want her to suffer because of his inefficiency.  How I wish our leaders both in the church and secular world will be reminded to set aside personal interest but instead work for the good of all.  I also hope this parcel of the history of the church would remind all Catholics to be humble. 

Thank you, Pope Benedict, for showing a good example.  The Church will continue to be guided by the Holy Spirit through your successor.

Thus, his recognition is indeed good for the church.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Where do you cast your nets of blessings? (How to receive God's blessings)

by Randy Tudy
In our gospel today, Jesus commanded the fishermen to cast their nets but the fishermen commented,   “We’ve done that the whole night but caught nothing.” Jesus persisted, “Cast your nets on the other side.”  The result?  Their nets were at breaking point.

How many of us are like the fishermen who are tired, frustrated and desperate?  How many of us despite all our efforts, energy, time and money still could not see ourselves succeeding?

Yesterday, for the first time I joined The Feast (I will explain more about this in my future articles) in Davao City.  Bro Pio gave the power talk which revolved around the message of being blessed.  His talk was an affirmation of my previous article on How can you become a blessing expert.

From the gospel of today and the sharing of Bro Pio, I will share to you the following reflections.

1. Hold your net.  Just like the fishermen in the Bible it is important to know that we are holding a net in order to catch fish.  We need to be familiar with it.  Wherever we are and whatever we do, we have to make sure our net is designed to catch blessings.  For example, our net could be our talent, skills, education, business, job or opportunities. 

2. Throw your net.  If we are aware of our own net, we need to discern where to throw it so that it will surely catch blessings.  Just like the fishermen, they were asked to venture into the unfamiliar territory by throwing on the other side.   We use our talent, skills, education, business, job or opportunities to be productive and to grow our blessings.  However, it should be shared or done in a proper place.  Four of my former students are good in the internet.  No, they don't play DOTA or any games.  Well, I supposed they also play before.  Now?  They throw their nets of blessings into the internet by working at home through online jobs.

3. Listen and follow.  Most of the successful people learned by listening and studying other successful people.  It is not enough to get hold of your net and throw in a proper place. We need to educate ourselves and learn from the experts.  That’s the reason why we go to school.  In our gospel, the fishermen listen to Jesus.

Friend, what is your net of blessing?  Where do you throw this net?  Whom do you listen and follow?

May your dreams be blessed.

Randy T

Saturday, 9 February 2013

5 ways on how you can be a BLESSING expert?

While sitting with our school president during a break in our strategic planning session, he asked me to facilitate the retreat for the Brothers of the Sacred Heart.  “Brother?” was all I can respond before he assured me that he will provide all the necessary materials plus a help from another brother.  To make the long story short, I did say yes with only one week to prepare.

Naturally, I was in panic gathering my notes until I tumbled on an article from one of my mentors- Bo Sanchez.  It was about how to be a blessing expert. The rest was God’s inspiration and work.  I supposed it was a successful retreat.  The framework of the retreat revolved around the theme on  how to become a blessing expert.

 Well, what does it mean to be a blessing expert?

An expert refers to a person who excels in a particular field. For example, if you talk about laws, lawyers are considered experts on the law. Doctors of medicines are experts on wellness. And the list goes on.

A blessing expert…………

1. Identifies blessings.  A blessing expert is a person who can easily identifies a blessing, even the minute one. According to Bo Sanchez, if we want to live a happy and fantastic life we need to discover first the blessings that we have. How can we be happy if we don’t even know the blessings around us?

2. Receives blessings.  It might be a surprise to you but it is true that many people don’t know how to receive blessings. Most of God’s blessings are just within reach but people don’t recognize them.  There are some who are not comfortable receiving praises.  On the other hand, many are blind to recognize God’s blessings and therefore don’t receive them.  For example, how many people recognize the gift of life they receive every time they wake up?

3. Shows gratefulness. A blessing expert is thankful to all the blessings he/she receives.  His/her first prayer every morning  are the words, “Thank you, Lord.” 

4. Shares God blessings.  I have a teacher before who comes to school smiling and is generous in greeting students with a big smile.  She is a blessing to us through her smiles.  A blessing expert does not contain a blessing for himself.

5. Prays for blessings.  A blessing expert prays for blessings both for those who had already come and those to come. Our catechist taught us how to pray.  Pray to thank God.

6. Witnesses as God’s blessings.  Just like my teacher, Christians are called to be a blessing for others.

May your drams be blessed.

Randy T.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

God is indeed good (Use your gift of freedom responsibly)

"I love this " was my usual reaction every time I go the malls, market, plaza, and everywhere. These are simple words of truth about me.  However, not everybody enjoys going to the places I went.  Well, they love to but not without so much caution and an army of security people in tow.

"I love this" expression is an expression of freedom.  I am free because I am not afraid. That is one indicator of a person who is free.  Indeed, God is good.  So, why many people questions the goodness of God especially when problems come?  Watch this video and learn why God is indeed good.

How do you hear God? Listen.

Have you experienced when your father speaks to you heart to heart?  You feel uncomfortable because your father doesn't talk that much.  By his introduction, you could already feel that it is a serious talk and the more it makes you uncomfortable.

In my assignment before where I sometimes acted as a retreat facilitator, there is one  activity during the retreat which I don't want my participants to miss. It is a heart to heart talk to God.  What my retreatants would do is to find their own sacred place.  Next, they are going to write a conversation with God.  At first, participants feel like they are just the ones doing the dialogue but when the task is finished a lot of surprises were taking place.

In our busy lives, we often miss this opportunity to have a heart to heart talk with God. How do you talk to God?  First and foremost, listen!

Watch this video and allow God to talk to you.  

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Are you happy and blessed? Learn the Christian secret.

Last Sunday new members of our Lady of Lourdes Confraternity or popularly known as Lourdes were formally accepted as part of the community.  The acceptance ceremony is different from the usual acceptance ritual.  The new members were not only accepted but also sent.  Thus, the ceremony could also be called a "Sending Forth ceremony."  As members of this Church-based organization, they were sent to live out the values and virtues of Mother Mary.
Today's gospel (Mark 6:7-13) is about the sending forth of the apostles.  They were sent by twos.  I could just imagine how excited these apostles were.  Thy cast out demons and healed sick people.  May be when they returned home they were comparing notes of the achievements they had.

But what does this sending forth really mean to the apostles and all of us followers of Jesus?  We got if by virtue of our Baptism and Confirmation.

First, being called is a blessing.  Not everyone is chosen.  For instance, only twelve apostles were chosen among Jesus' disciples.  We might not be called apostles but try to reflect your mission wherever you are.  If you are working in the office, you are called as a genuine Christian to witness the gospel values.

I remember a former student of mine.  Let's call him Rodel.  He was a very good student and was active in the Campus Ministry, an office which facilitates spiritual activities in the school.  After his graduation, he was fortunate to immediately land a job in a government office.  As a devout Christian, he religiously did his job.  Day by day, Rodel discovered some irregularities in the office.  For instance, he noticed that many of his office mates came in late, consistently.  However, the record in the Daily Time Record (DTR) which was still done manually did not reflect such violations. 

 He also noticed that some of his companions are not really doing their job well.  There were more that he observed as time went by.  One time he came late.  Instead of writing the correct entry, one of his companions taught him the practice that they do. This practice was stopped when the bandy clock was introduced.  However, the one who first came in will punch all the cards.  Problem solved.

Rodel was troubled by his conscience of the wrong practices in his office.  There was even a time he thought of quitting. However, he remained faithful.  In this case, Rodel lived up to his calling as Jesus' followers.  He is blessed by doing the right thing.  In fact, his life is better than his office mates though he received lower salary. Indeed, he is blessed.
Second, we are called to be happy.  Jesus did not go to Jerusalem in order to be persecuted and crucified.  He was happy doing his mission.  While he knew he is going to die, he also knew that it is not the end.  The celebration of Lent does not end on Good Friday.  The feast of all feasts in the Church is EASTER SUNDAY.  That is why Christians are called Easter people.  We look forward to resurrection.  That is the real meaning of happiness.

Christianity is a religion of blessings.  It is a religion with a generous God.
Christianity is a religion of happiness.  Christians are happy people and are called to make others happy.

If you want to be happy and blessed, live your life according to will of God.  Be a genuine Christian!

May your dreams be blessed.

Randy T

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Do you possess positive receptors?
In 1995, I had the opportunity of attending the World Youth Day held in Manila.  I was one of the 3 million people who attended the mass at Luneta Park.  Just before mass, people were already crowding the park.There were just too many people around. We could not move freely.  It was hot and very inconvenient.  Many were already in the park the night before forcing us to stay very far away from the main stage. 

However, I had a rare opportunity when the pope's vehicle passed near the road where we were staying.  I was around 15 meters away from the road but when I saw Pope John Paul II for maybe 10 seconds I felt something very different.   The pope had a very powerful aura.  Just seeing him as if I was seeing Jesus.  By the way, after 8 years I saw him twice in Rome, at the St. Peter’s Basilica and at Castelo Gandulfo.  The same experience.  On these three occasions,  the pope triggered the positive receptors in me.

What do I mean by receptors?  It seems that we hear this word and is connected with electronics.  That’s how I first heard this word. In Physiology, they refer to a specialized or group of nerve endings that responds to sensory stimuli.  In Biochemistry, they refer to a molecular structure or site on the surface or interior of a cell that binds with substances such as hormones, antigens, drugs, or neurotransmitters (

My operational definition to this word is about a thing in our mind that receive stimuli through our brain.  It depends what the receptors receive that the brain can interpret.  If the receptors are positive, they will send positive information to the brain.  If the receptors are negative, they will send negative information.

Human beings have receptors. Let’s take this example. Sisters Ann and Weng were  born  a year apart.  Ann has a very positive aura making her the favourite among family members, relatives and neighbours.  Weng is the complete opposite.  Ann would smile every time she receives praise and accolades.  Weng doesn’t.  Both have receptors but differ in kinds.

Two different sisters, two different receptors.

Two different attitudes, two different receptors

As a teacher, I also experience having students with different kinds of attitudes.  Like sisters Ann and Weng, there are students who react differently to stimuli.

Even in doing classroom activities, students differ in terms of their reaction and performance.

Reason?  They have different kinds of receptors.

Receptors are in our mind who filter our thoughts or stimuli from the outside.

Receptors can lead our brain which processes and influences our thinking, words and actions.
In order to have positive receptors, here are few suggestions:

 1. Know yourself and your past. What were your healthy and unhealthy past experieces? Awareness would lead to understanding yourself, and later on loving yourself.

2. Learn about your receptors. Be aware what are those things that can easily trigger yourself both positively and negatively.

3. Activate your positive receptors.  If Pope John Paul II helped trigger my positive receptors, then I should be mindful and develop these receptors (not the person of the pope).  It is like asking, "What makes me happy or what inspires me?"  It's good to know these.

4. Reject negative receptors. By knowing your receptors developed by your bad past experiences, you need to be aware of not welcoming them or allowing them to influence your life.

5. Enhance your receptors with the Word of God and Prayer. One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of the adulterous woman.  The Jews brought the adulterous woman to Jesus with sarcastic and demeaning words.  It was a very intense moment.  Just by seeing this sinful woman, I’m sure those people are pissed off.  Jesus saw all these things but he has positive receptors.  He saw goodness more than the sinfulness of the woman.  He saw the opportunity of educating the people instead of allowing them to be enslaved by their own sinfulness.
Negative receptors are created because of our bad past experiences.  If you have painful,  unjust and terrible past, you developed these receptors.  Every time similar experience occurs, receptors are triggered and produced signals to the brain.  On the opposite, positive receptors are developed if you have a loving and healthy past.

Our goal is to develop positive receptors in order to live a positive life.

Jesus is our model.  He can also cleanse our brain and wash away negative receptors.
Jesus as model can help us produce millions of positive receptors.

May your dreams be blessed.

How can you learn or get away from having a Bonsai Mentality?
I really don't see plants which are put inside the house.  I was born and lived in the countryside. In terms of plants, I had all the natural plants to see since these are available around.  It was only when I live in the city that I saw plants inside the house or building.  I began to learn about them. Then, I was introduced into Bonsai plants.

There are lessons I learned from this kind of plant.

1.  Symbol of Beauty.  Though they are small plants, they are beautiful.  Indeed, they are good inside the house or buildings.  It's so nice to see these plants adorning the office, room or building.  In other words, they add  beauty and glamour.
2. Flexibility. Being small, it's easy for them to be placed even inside the office, or even on top of tables and cabinets.

On the other hand, we can also learn from this plant when it comes to growth.  By their nature, Bonsai plants don't grow big.  Even how much water or fertilizer you put, they will never grow big. That's their nature.

Sometimes, we also have that mentality of being contented and don't want to grow.

In the gospel of talents, Jesus was telling us to use our resources or talents to be shared or multiplied.  He wants us to grow and to share our blessings to others.

For those who are caught in a negative Bonsai mentality, check yourself with the following questions:

1. Are you willing to grow from the your present status now?
2. Do you want to take a risk in your life?
3. Do you want to get out from your comfort zone?
4. Do you want to have a paradigm shift?
5. Do you want to get outside of the box?

Or, you can do the following:

1. Check out your dreams.  Do you have a clear dream in life?
2. Check outside the window.  Look for opportunities for growth.
3. Check on your potentials.  Know what  gifts, skills and talents God has given you.

From the lessons we learned from the about Bonsai plants,  check these questions:

1. How do you show your beauty?  Are you making people relaxed and inspired seeing your beauty (whether physical or spiritual)?

2. Are you flexible?  Can you adjust yourself wherever you will be put?  In other words, can you bloom where you will be planted.  Remember, the disciples of Jesus were sent to towns and villages like lambs among wolves.

In our gospel today (Matthew 10:16-25), Jesus sent his disciples to do  missionary work.  The sending was quite scary. "
16 Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
17Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues,

We can only become genuine disciples of Jesus if we also learn from the lessons of the Bonsai plants.  Again,   as Christian missionaries we cannot just remain inside or just remain static.  By virtue of our baptism, we are called to grow and become missionaries just like how Jesus made his disciples as missionaries  in today's gospel.

May your dreams be blessed.

Randy T

Saturday, 2 February 2013

What makes your child happy?

When I watch this video of my mentor preacher- Bo Sanchez, I remember my own childhood.  More than that , I remember my students, especially elementary and high school students, who long to have their father and mother to be with them.

Friends, watch this video. If you are a parent, this is really for you.

May your dreams be blessed.

How do you deal with rejection?
Do you have that feeling of incompetence when you act or perform in front of people who know you well? I'll give you an example.  Dennis is a known addict in their place.  However, his life changes after having a girlfriend from a respected family.  It turns out that the girl belongs to a small but very progressive Christian denomination.  After months of joining this community, Dennis becomes a trusted leader and preacher for young people.  He is gaining the confidence but shivers upon knowing the latest mission given to him.  He is going to preach to the young people in their place.  

Can you imagine how hard it is for Dennis?  What do you think is the main reason why he is afraid?  Obvious, right?  The young people in their place know him and his past.

This scenario is quite peculiar but even in our own experience we seem to have less confidence when we do things in front of those who know us.  At one time, I invited a well-known leader to speak on a particular issue.  When I talked to him, he commented that it was his first time in long long years he was again  invited to speak in our school.  But what stuck me was his side comment.  "In other places, people believed so much on me but here in our place people don't give much credit ,"  he jokingly said.

As a kid, I was so fascinated for visitors in our village who speaks Tagalog, or especially foreigners speaking in English.  For me, they are superior than the people in our village who only speak pure Cebuano.  I think it is a part of Filipino culture to pay  much respect and admiration to people from other places. 

What's the reason?  Familiarity leads to rejection.

In our gospel today (Luke 4:21-30), Jesus was rejected by his neighbors and acquaintances.  They can't believe him talking about God and His Kingdom because they knew him, the son of a carpenter.  He is their neighbor.  The same experience was felt by the apostles and disciples of Jesus. They had a hard time convincing their own people.

However, this rejection has led to opening the gates of greater opportunities.  For example, in the case of Jesus, he transferred to other places and gained support and admiration from the people.  This was also the same experience to his followers.  I suppose this is one of the reasons why the Church spread quickly outside Israel.

The simple message for today's gospel is to fight rejection.  However, like Jesus and His followers, we need to do the following:
1. Stand to what you believe.  Despite the negative perception of people, we need to be strong on what we see as right.  As long as it is clear what we want to do, be firm against any form of rejection.  As a teacher, i am amazed to know that some of our students who did not do well in high school are excelling in college. Those naughty ones in high school, who are the recipient of all the negative feedback from their classmates and sometimes teachers, bloom in a new environment.  In other words, they have the capacities but  are prevented for lack of confidence. They are not able to stand up for what they are and what they can do.  It's a different story in a new environment.

2. Look for opportunities.  If you are rejected in one place, then convince yourself of the possibility of doing it in another place.  It's like in business.  If the business fails, real business people don't stop.  They find another way, another place and another opportunities.  In life, that's the same.  Learn from this popular saying, "When God closes a door, he opens  a window."

3.  Get the message.  Rejection is not the end.  A person of wisdom sees roadblocks a challenges to make him stronger.  In our gospel today, Jesus proceeded to other villages because He knew the people there will be more receptive of Him.  It was a sign for Him to focus and to change his strategies. The apostles and other followers followed the same strategy.  In fact, they were taught by Jesus how to handle themselves when rejected.  It was in the bible that if rejected they will leave the place, shake the dust of their sandals as a testament and proceed  to another house.

What about you?  Do you also experience being rejected?  Learn from the gospel today and the message it brings.

May your dreams be blessed.

Randy T.