Friday, March 31, 2017 Lenten Reflection
John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30
Jesus moved about within Galilee; he did not wish to travel in Judea because the Jews were trying to kill him. But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near.
But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, he himself also went up, not openly but as it were in secret. Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said, “Is he not the one they are trying to kill? And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him. Could the authorities have realized that he is the Christ? But we know where he is from. When the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from.” So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said, “You know me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” So they tried to arrest him, but no one laid a hand upon him, because his hour had not yet come.
Jerusalem, the Holy City of God, the center of Jewish religion and culture, was Jesus’ destiny. In Jerusalem, Jesus would come to his “hour”: that time in which he would have to face suffering and death so that he could rise in glory on the third day. We all must journey to our own Jerusalem; we will all experience our hour of death. The way in which we journey to that hour and accept our destiny defines who we are as Christians. The way of the Cross is the way of surrender to the limits God has placed on our lives.
What We Can Ask Ourselves:
Do I realize that my life has a limit, and that one day I will come to an end? Do I believe and trust that in Christ we have hope for a life beyond this present one? How can I follow Christ each day towards my destiny? What am I doing to prepare for my eternal future?Orlando, Florida, USA
Sunday, March 26, 2017 Lenten Reflection
John 9:1-41 Man Born Blind
Are we doing consistent reflection and meditation this Lenten Season? As we approach the Holy Week, it will be good for us to beware of our blind spots. This refers not only in driving but also in our daily life. By blind spots, it may mean things we are not aware of to be bad for us and others. As a diabetic person, I always think that it is good for me to fast as I always desire to be spiritually attuned to the observance of Lenten Season. Unfortunately, the blind spot I am not aware of is to experience low blood sugar, which is also a danger zone for diabetics. I experienced dizziness when I was doing a general clean up in the front yard. That was the time I remember missing my breakfast! Good I didn’t collapse. So I hurried into the kitchen to get some food and have little bites, for another problem I might face is the upsurge of my blood sugar if I take the full lunch. I blame no one but myself for becoming diabetic. I made soft drinks as my daily water when I was still in the Philippines. I had no physical exercise as I was always in my office as the then principal of the high school I pioneered. All these were my blind spots that became obviously dangerous without my daily dose of Metformin! I used to be judgmental when it comes to the observance of religious practices as I compare one religion with another. But as I immerse myself with Jesus’ teachings during His time, I became aware of how He dealt with those who were “lost.” He didn’t leave them behind. In fact, He sought for them, lived with them, dined and drank with them! After all, only our faith in God could save us, not our own way of avoiding the “sinners” in our midst! This was my other blind spot. I didn’t like to entertain those who knock at my door to talk about Jesus because they belong to another denomination. Surprisingly, by the grace of God, I had a little chat with them last Sunday and yesterday! I believe it must be my confidence now that I can defend my faith and what I believe in based on my Gospel readings! For as long as the discussion is within the confines of the Holy Bible, then I have nothing to fear! In fact, I shared with them the progress I am making with my Gospel reflections online using the Scripture readings and researches of people from other religious groups who use the same Holy Bible I have in my possession. I praise and thank the Lord that He has finally checked on this blind spot I had caged myself in for so long! May this reading open our eyes to our individual blind spots with the help of the Holy Spirit’s guidance, enlightenment and power to correct us and make us truly the children of God who desire our “change of hearts.” In Jesus’ Holy Name, I pray, Amen! (March 29, 2017 Orlando, Florida, USA)
“Blessings From Difficulties”
When faced with difficulties, our first reaction is to complain, not knowing that there are “3 BLESSINGS FROM DIFFICULTIES,” according to Pastor Jack Wellman. Hence, Peter Marshall is right in saying, “God will not permit any troubles to come upon us, unless He has a specific plan by which a great blessing can come out of the difficulty.” The following are the blessings we can expect from our difficulties: 1) Sharing Comfort+++(2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Praise be to the God and Fa…ther of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God”). I remember how my sisters-in-law dealt with their divorce problems. One left for Italy and worked there for the rest of her life till her death. She never remarried. Another was petitioned by her daughter and is presently living in Guam in peace and comfort till she survived my Brother Pol who passed away due to emphysema. Still another sister-in-law of mine remarried my Brother Ely, remained with him and took care of him until he passed away due to cancer. All my three sisters-in-law trusted the Lord and left everything in His hands. All these enabled me to accept also my fate as a divorcee as I continue living in faith that all will end well for me as I continue serving God. 2) Receiving Good Results from Evil+++Joseph’s story tells it all in Genesis 45 to 50 where he was sold by his brothers to slavery, but he was blessed by God and became the Pharaoh’s administrator in Egypt during the 7 years of abundance, and 7 years of famine thus saving all people including his own family who came to Egypt because he saved the surplus food during the 7 years of abundance that covered up the years of famine! God Himself gave us His only Son to die on the Cross and redeem us from sin and death thus giving us our salvation. (John 3:16). 3) Giving Us Dependency on God+++(Psalm 57:2 “I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.” Psalm 55:16 “But I call to God, and the Lord saves me”). Indeed, we are truly dependent on God but the prayer taught to us by Jesus tells us to pray everyday for our provisions in “Give us this day our daily bread.” He also gives us Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not be in want.” All we need is to keep praying and trusting God’s Word that He will be our comforter, our deliverer, our provider and protector. May this reading build up our trust in God, that we should never be shaken by trials, and that we keep our faith strongly with prayers and supplication. In Jesus’ Holy Name, I pray, Amen