In the Philippines, especially in its capital Manila, the roads are filled with these rowdy jeepneys – the engine sound, the sudden stops, the blings and stickers on their bodies. As a driver, you would want to stay as far away from them as possible which is an impossible feat in the metro. These jeeps would often have names written on their body or hanged on the back, sometimes stickers of zodiac signs, artwork, or the face of Jesus, others hang signs like “God bless our trip” or some pinoy hugot or humor quotes.
As I was done with my first trip this morning and on my way to the second one, I was already getting cheesed off with the bad Manila traffic, the buses and pedestrians, the chaos so early on a Monday morning. And it’s a Monday. Half-way to my second destination, this jeep cut me and I was about to lose it when I saw what’s written on its side “Jesus Owns You” and it spells JOY.
So simple. 3-letter word. 3 words. Says it all. It occurred to me how we all strive and struggle to be happy, to find peace, to be filled with joy – the joy that the world can never ever take away from us. We search, we seek, we ask, we knock yet often we are left asking for more or asking more questions. All along, what Jesus is telling us, what God wants from us, is to be owned by Him – yet we cannot have that. I am my own, this is my life – don’t we all say that and live that? I want joy but I want my life to be my own as well. Hmm… I really don’t know how we can work around that when JOY is simply being owned by Jesus.
What does it mean to be owned by Jesus and why do most of us resist?
To be owned even just by someone is to be a slave of that person, to obey and act on that person’s commands. Didn’t God give me
So you should pray like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
may your name be held holy,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts,
as we have forgiven those who are in debts to us.
And do not put us to the test,
but save us from the evil one.”
– Matthew 6:9-13
And this is how we ought to pray. Not by memorizing the Lord’s prayer but by truly understanding what it meant.
To declare His glory and to make known His love; to submit to His will; to ask not only for the daily provisions of life but for the bread of life as well – the Word of God, the presence of Jesus in our lives; to forgive others and acknowledge that we are sinners and humbly lay down our sins at the feet of the cross; to pray for strength for we know that our flesh is weak; to acknowledge our salvation.
When we find it in our hearts struggling to submit to His will, or to forgive – let us pray for these struggles because we are weak and He is strong. Let us not depend on our strength but rely on His. And in times we do not know what to pray, or when we even cannot utter a single word to pray, a tear drop is a prayer that the Lord fully comprehend. A deep sigh from a tired soul, a silence, a sob from a broken heart – all these and more the Lord sees and hears as our prayers.
The Spirit too comes to help us in our weakness. For when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words, and God who knows everything in our heart knows perfectly well what he means, and that the pleas of the saints expressed by the Spirit are according to the mind of God.
– Romans 8:26-27
Pray, and listen. The Lord delights in speaking to us when we pray.
Love your enemies.
Simple. Direct. Crazy. But, why should I? How could I?
In theory, it’s already hard to postulate. In practice, what more? The world sees this as the craziest idea – a world that demands justice, revenge, vengeance sugar-coated into something we sometimes use as ‘I’m just teaching him a lesson’ or ‘He deserves it’. Oh, how kind of us, teaching lessons, giving deserving presents! And the world who loves gossips and dramas would be against a person who quietly accepts persecution and forgives – corny, boring, stupid.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for an eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” Matthew 5:38 – 42
Personally, I struggle with this command. It’s just too hard to comprehend and it goes against lessons the society has taught me growing up. I look at a society that demands Continue reading
Truly, God, in His Mercy, takes care and provides for His flock. For me to be able to join the recent World Youth Day in Krakow is a miracle in itself. He has converted the ‘yes’ into a possibility. I had my reservations going into this trip – with all the chaos going on in most parts of Europe, then as we were nearing our departure via Turkish Airlines, there was bombing in the airport followed by a failed coup less than a week before we leave. The trials never stopped there but with the loving mercy of our Lord, He has went ahead and prepared a way for us.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Litomerice, Czech Republic.
Everything that comes into our lives is a moment of encounter with God.
From the homily by Fr. Bert during the Eucharistic celebration last July 25, 2016 at the St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Litomerice, Czech Republic.
It’s not only in the extravagant events or in the ‘fireworks display moment of our lives’ that we encounter God but also in the little moments and sometimes, for us, trivial events that He is there, nudging us, knocking in our hearts, presenting Himself to be recognized by our soul. And it is easy to be distracted and to not see God in the midst of the noise and the activities, with the world presenting you with so much diversions, with sceneries and oh the potatoes. When we were reminded that Continue reading
Before you conclude, before you even think about walking away or convincing yourself of your assumptions – ASK!
How can you know, when you never asked? How can you be certain, when you never inquired? How can you conclude with only assumptions? Maybe it’s time to stop being ASSuming and ASK! 😛
Okay, this post was really intended to just be my thoughts about the many misunderstandings that we encounter. However,
Last Wednesday, I got a Stargazer from the flower market on my way to work. It’s a flower I’ve always wanted to have beside me, cos of it’s wonderful color and fragrance. Little did I know I’d be reminded so much by this lily. More than just appreciating how lovely they are and how nice they smell, they reminded me of life’s brevity, God’s glory, God’s providence, and His amazing grace.
As I see a bud opens up, I’m reminded of Matthew 6:28-31. Why worry? See the beautiful flowers in the field, even in the short span of their life, how pretty the Lord has dressed them without them toiling that even Solomon was never dressed as lovely as them. How much more, then, that God will provide for us? It also showed me how these fragile creatures never hold back in showing off their beauty to bring glory to their Maker.
Today, one of the lily has withered and it reminded me of life’s brevity; that beauty is fleeting, what is important is to praise God (Proverbs 31:30); of God’s faithfulness in the frailty of this life (Isaiah 40:8); and the will of the Lord. (James 4:13-16).
It is in the little things, even the tiny flower that springs up from a crack in the pavement, that teaches us the greatest lessons. Often, it is in the things we take for granted. So always keep your eyes, ears and heart open, cos our Father is always speaking to us. (: