Friday, November 26, 2010

STAY AWAKE! AND BE READY FOR THE KING!

"Stay Awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come." - Matthew 24:27-44
be ready

In Matrix:Reloaded, the opening scene was a sort of a glimpse of the things to come where Neo (Keanu Reeves) dreamt of Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) dying. A prophecy. A future foreseen.


There are a lot of foreign films out there that executed perfectly a style that shows the climactic end first before going through the whole story. Knowing the end of the story makes the "reading" or "watching it" part seems pointless and dull. However, the part that really excites people to read-on or watch is not knowing when will that "end" come. How did it come to that? And, what will happen next.

To them, the end becomes a beginning.

Just like for Christians all over the world who will celebrate the beginning of Advent this Sunday. We all know what the end will be but we are always excited every year. Advent is but of course, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Christ.

And to that, the end of the Advent story will be the birth of Christ and this Sunday is the beginning of that story. But what is remarkable about this is that the expected end, which is the birth of Christ, is also in itself a great beginning - a start that will truly revolutionize how people think (hope), feel (love) and act (charity). Through His teachings, miracles and leadership we have experienced a new way to live our lives.

We must however, look at the Advent season as more of a personal experience rather than a worldwide celebration. An annual practice for every single one of us, so that when the time comes we will all be ready. Our faith is strong and our heart is pure and renewed.

The Lord will come.. yes, but when and how?

And are we prepared?

Some of us fear that meeting, because we may think that we are unworthy, that we have so many dirt in our souls and that this should be a cause for us to move away and stray. But, that is one element of the advent season that is truly wonderful. During this time we are called to renew ourselves. To clean ourselves of all our wrong-doings. To repent and make amends.

Some of us have grown weary. That because of all the hardships and loneliness that we've felt in this world, we all feel that it is a just enough cause for us to believe that He will never come. But that is also another beauty of the advent season. It reminds us, no... it TELLS us that the coming of the Lord is inevitable and true! All of us have suffered and sometimes some have suffered more, but it is my personal belief that suffering becomes a beacon of hope for everyone when we suffer for something that we believe in.

In a scene from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, upon seeing that Dumbledore was dead, all the faculties and students 'suffering' the loss of a dear friend and leader, raised their wands and lighted the sky which made the mark of the dark Lord in the heavens disappear.

We all carry this wand of light with us even in suffering if we suffer for the belief and faith in the coming of our Lord.

"Stay Awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come."

The main purpose of the advent season is not to prepare gifts, plan parties and vacations, or buy new gadgets and expect gifts.

The purpose is to prepare and make ourselves presentable or pleasing to the eye of the Lord. To renew ourselves. To be an instrument of hope for all people. To receive His love and share it with others and most specially those who need it.
Imitate the Lord. Look upon to what form and manner did He come to this world. A baby in a manger. - Be humble. Be meek. Be kind. Be true. - that is all.

Love is the key. He came because of love for mankind. His message was all about love - love for everyone, unconditional and true. Then show love.- that is all.
Be always ready. The key is to not only do the giving, the loving, the caring, the renewing.. only during advent season. You try to do these things all the time and that would be great. - that is all.

Bring heaven here on earth. When Jesus talked about the kingdom - He was not describing what it looks like but rather how it feels like to live there. Learn about the Kingdom, read the parables and know the teachings of the church about this. Understand what it meant and try to live by the principles that it stands for.

In C. S. Lewis' The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, there is a scene there where the children, learning that Aslan is not a man but a lion are not only startled but down right alarmed. 

"Is he – quite safe?" Susan asks. "I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion." "That you will, dearie, and no mistake," replies Mrs. Beaver, "if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else silly." "Then he isn't safe?" Lucy asks. To which Mr. Beaver responds, "Safe? Don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."

Our Lord will come. He is just and merciful. He is good. We must be ready.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE HUMAN?


November 21, 2010

As I was designing a power point presentation about PCP-II (2nd Plenary Council of the Philippines), I stumbled upon a paragraph which struck me like a bolt of lightning. It said: 
Evangelizing means bringing the Good News into all the strata of humanity, and through its influence transforming humanity from within and making it new.

Now humanity is a vague word that might not necessarily mean the whole human species but rather its essence. Being human. We all have our darkness from within and sometimes that darkness over shadows that essence which we called 'humanity.'

This Sunday's Gospel reminds us of the last hour spent by Jesus while embracing that which made Him human. Facing death by the most gruesome and most embarrassing way possible. A sign was placed over his head which says "This is the King of the Jews." Mocked and humiliated until one man dying the same way as he was, defended him and entrusted his life to this crucified King.

Now, this act of punishment that Jesus received from the hands of people like you and me, could we, by our own reflection call this as humane? Drawing it from the context of being a human act of justice and therefore, part of our being human. Humanity?

'King' is also a human phrase and a human rank of power and glory. That is why when the word 'King' was branded to a man nailed on a cross and about to die- people see it as a big joke or even as an insult to the word.

There were a lot of contrasting events told in the Gospel today that which the paragraph from the PCP-II manual helped me realized.

Humanity is bigger than us, humans. It's larger than us and sometimes never us. When we do injustices, we lose our humanity. When we commit harm to other individuals, we lose our humanity. When we say bad things to other people, we lose our humanity. It is a contrast clearly seen in Golgotha where there suffers three crucified men and treated like animals - but we see those around them laughing and mocking as the real animals. This is so, because the very act of cruelty made by those who stands around them already rids them of their humanity.

A Kingly status is never about power and glory, it is about how others respect and believes in you. It is about the effortless influence you exert on people not because of what you wear, how rich you are or who you know but because of how you treat people, how you care for them and your sense of vision. Another contrasting event in the Golgotha scene. Jesus almost bare, powerless, wounded and dying was seen by one man as a savior. Someone who can deliver and protect him. A KING that he will follow to the end.

Evangelizing is to bring the good news to all the strata of humanity. The story and message of Christ received by all humans from within. A story of hope and salvation. I believe that whatever wrong things we do could never ever get rid of our humanity totally. There will always be a single drop of humanity left in all of us where we can draw upon strength to renew ourselves. That is why for those of us who have some strength to spare must do whatever we can to fuel those who have less. Your hope will inspire the hope of others. Your strength will be their strength. And the word of God flowing though you will flow through them. Jesus' teachings is not meant to turn us into Gods but it is meant to bring back our humanity and teach us to embrace it so that we may all live well.

Now why manifest the Lord's Kingly status during a time of suffering? Because I believe that the primary duty of a King is to protect his people. To love them. To fight for them. And if they will suffer, a king must suffer first to be able to save them.

Jesus died as a KING! The highest rank any man can bestow upon another man. And if we are to share in the Kingly vocation of Christ we must live by his example. Embrace our humanity and live by what it really stands for.

“As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.” - Carl Gustav Jung

Jesus is truly a KING! Not just among Jews but a king to all HUMANITY!