Have we realized by now, what is God‘s plan for our life? Do we allow God to work in us, with us and through us?
It’s not always helpful for us to imitate someone else. God does not want us to become another ‘St. Francis’ or ‘Mother Teresa.” He wants us to be our real selves just like what all the saints did.
Look at this amazing video of a young talented Filipino guy who can sing with both male and female voice. I supposed he might have been ridiculed before as ‘doble-kara’ [double-faced] because of what he is capable of. But he has realised this is God’s plan for him. So he joined the reality TV show in the Philippines and showcased his incredible and unique talent. He won the grand prize of 2 milllion pesos plus all other awards. However the most rewarding of it all for him is that he has united all his family members which he has been dreaming of ever since he was a child.
(N.b. if you don’t want to listen to the interview or you can’t understand the language just play forward to 2:34.)
or ponder on this story…
Once upon a time three young trees were growing side by side in a huge plantation. With a typical youthful enthusiasm, they shared with one another their hopes for life when they reached maturity.
One hoped to be used in the building of some mansion, so that its grain and quality would be admired by the great and the famous.
The second hoped to form the tallest mast in the most beautiful sailing ship, thus gaining full attention as it sailed into any port.
The third hoped to be part of some big public spectacle, well out in the open, so the passers-by would stop and look on in wonder.
The reality for the trees, according to the legend was:
- The first was cut down and part of it was used to make a trough for animals, and it later became a manger in a stable.
- The second was cut down, and part of it was used to make a very simple fishing boat that spent a lot of its time tied up on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
- The third was cut down, and part of it was used to form the beams of a cross, which was used for crucifixion.
*The ideal is to be available for God to use me in any way he chooses to establish,to promote, and to build up the kingdom of his Son Jesus Christ.* [J. Mcardle]
A few months ago, I read a news of a 13-year-old boy in Cebu Philippines who committed suicide for the reason that his mother did not buy him a laptop computer. Reading that I felt so sad and upset. I didn’t blame anyone though, because I realized that it was not anyone’s fault. It’s a symptom however of our materialistic society. Many people think that material thing is all that is. Many believe that material things can really make us happy and contented. Not a few people think that money is all that we need because through it, we can get everything that we need or want.
But we know, we who are here today don’t really believe that material things are all that we need, do we? If we do, we would not have been here. We are here because we believe as our faith- experience tells us that there is more to our life than material things. We are here, I hope and pray, because we are looking for that treasure of the kingdom that would really guarantee us of eternal happiness, real contentment and complete satisfaction.
In our Gospel today Jesus tells us another set of parables about the kingdom of God-a priceless treasure, that once it is found, we would consider all other things as mere shadows. But what is this treasure? What is this kingdom of God?
It is the kingdom of love, of peace, of justice, of solidarity, of sharing, of making God as the centre of our life…The point in our gospel today, is for us to seek for this kingdom. But where? Jesus said, the kingdom of God is among us now, is within us. So let’s look at our heart. What are our priorities? If we feel sad hearing the news of starvation in Somalia, it’s the sign of the Kingdom of solidarity and of justice. If we feel sorry for that boy who took his own life because he couldn’t get a laptop, it’s a sign of the Kingdom that we want God to be focus of our life rather than things. And as we read the papers everyday, we are in some ways moved to reflect on some of the events happening around us. But reading or reflecting on these things are not enough. We have to do something. As I mentioned last week, each one of us is given a ‘seed’ of the kingdom. Let’s work from there. Let’s develop it, share it, make it bear fruit.
But to do it in our time, is quite a challenge. Because there is another kingdom that is in opposition to the Kingdom of God-the kingdom of Satan. Satan is real and he is working now, more than ever. He even seems to have succeeded in some ways. Sin becomes so rampant now, that as John Paul II observes, leading us to believe that doing ‘it’ is just normal and part of our ordinary human life. The late Pope said, because of this reality of sin pervading in the individuals and in the structures, we lose the sense the sin. We are experiencing the eclipse of sin.
But seeing us here today in this Eucharistic celebration is a sign of hope that still we seek for the Kingdom of God, that we want to promote the kingdom of God, that we want to defeat the forces of evil around us.
But what can we do? What do we do then?
Three things: First, more than ever, we need the wisdom of Solomon to help us discern the Kingdom of God from the kingdom of satan; to discern between good and evil; between right and wrong; between truth and lie; between life and death. Let’s pray that God would grant us this same wisdom.
We need Jesus in defeating the evil forces us. He stood for the truth, no matter what happens, even if he was standing alone, even if it led him to his death. Let’s keep close to his side.
And finally we need to do something to help those people who are really in need, not only of our prayers which is the first thing, but also because we have the means and the ways to do this. We have Caritas, Red Cross, St Vinnies, Catholic Mission, etc. God gives us these ways and these means NOT to put burden on us, but to enable us to share in promoting the kingdom of God here on earth. Let’s seek first the Kingdom of God, and everything else will be provided. Amen.
A man dived into a raging swollen river to rescue a boy who had fallen in. It was a tough struggle. The river was in full spate, and it was a miracle of God that the man succeeded in grabbing an over-hanging branch, while clinging to the boy with the other hand.He brought the boy to safety, none the worse for his near brush with death. He brought him home, and gave him over to the care of his mother. As the man was leaving, the boy said, ‘Thank you very much, sir, for saving my life.’ The man put one hand under the boy’s chin, and looked him in the eye, and said, ‘That’s OK son! Just make sure your life was worth saving.’ [j.mcardle]
Jesus would also remind us now with these or similar words, to acknowledge the value of our life. Each one of us is unique and special in the eyes of God. Just imagine this, on the sixth day, God made us human beings, man and woman. Then after creating us, he just loved us so much that he couldn’t help but enjoy looking at us, that he didn’t create anymore after us.
There’s no point imitating those people whom we think our model in life. God wants us to be ourselves. Jesus asks us to love God and our neighbors, as we love ourselves. But how can we love ourselves when we don’t even know our real selves? How can we face our true selves, when we are living in fantasy, of what we want ourselves to be? God has already done in us, what we are supposed to be…and that is to be loved. And proof to this love is his death on the cross to save us from death in sin, and to give us life…life to the full…the fullness which can only be found in God.
SO: “If we are saved, we should look saved, and live like people who are saved.” [j.m.]