BEING MEMBERS OF GOD’S FAMILY In the gospel, Jesus made it clear that obedience to the will of God is paramount in being included in the family of God. When we are baptized, we belong to the larger family of God. However, it is not enough to stay on the fringe of the Catholic community. By remaining on the outside, we become observers, guests and spectators, not family members. How, then, do we insert ourselves into the inner circle of Jesus’ family?
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THE BEGINNING OF FAITH IS LOVE Falling in love with Jesus is the beginning of faith. Whether a Christian is passionate about his or her faith is dependent on his or her passion for the Lord. If one lacks passion for Christ and the gospel, it is obvious that he or she has not yet come to believe in God’s love for him or her.
WELCOMING CHRIST AMONG YOU, YOUR HOPE OF GLORY The joy of life is when we make our hearts open to welcome others into our lives. Very often, in welcoming people into our homes and circle of friendships, we feel inconvenienced and unsettled because our routine is upset. Yet, by allowing others to enter into our lives, not only do they feel welcomed and loved, but we are also enriched by their sharing and by their lives. What we give to them in terms of time and resources, they bless us with their presence and expand our horizon in understanding and appreciating life. We grow in wisdom and understanding. In welcoming people into our lives, we are welcoming Christ without knowing it.
THE PATIENCE OF A TENDER LOVING GOD God is a patient, long-suffering and loving God. Man cannot wait, but He can wait, and is still waiting for man to repent and turn to the New Life He is offering us. “With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.” (2 Pt 3:8f) God is more patient and forgiving towards us than we are with ourselves and with our fellowmen.
RITUALS AND LAWS Every religion and society needs rituals and laws to guide the community. Rituals are important to call to mind what happened in the past so that remembering the past will help the present community to be grateful for the present. Besides the rituals, every community, religious or otherwise, requires laws to govern the people so that they can live in harmony with one another, respecting the rights and freedom of each other. However, rituals and laws must be at the service of love and life. Otherwise, they are redundant and only make us slaves.
HUMILITY IS THE KEY TO LETTING GO We are all stressed and burdened in life. We are burdened by our past. We are fearful and anxious about the future. But the Lord does not expect us to carry the burdens of life by ourselves and with our own strength. He carries them with us and for us. He is with us. But we need to come to Him in humility. Indeed, humility is the foundation of everything, whether of faith, hope or love. We must learn from Jesus how to carry our crosses in such a way that we are not destroyed in the process. The burdens of life must be carried with light-heartedness. How do we do this?
ENCOUNTERING GOD WHO IS OUR FATHER Why do some people believe in God and others do not? Why is it that some of the brightest and most intelligent people are God-fearing and others are not? Why is it that some believers are more passionate in their faith than others? It all boils down to one’s encounter with the living God. How we encounter God will determine how we relate to Him. What, then, prevents a person from encountering God?
THE TRAGEDY OF INDIFFERENCE AND INGRATITUDE There are many who have taken for granted the blessings they received in life. Instead of being grateful and thankful to God and to those who have blessed them, they remain indifferent. They take their privileges for granted. This is the tragedy of life. We are not saved for our sake. We are always saved for others. When God delivered us, He had in mind for us to deliver others as well. This is something we must never forget. The call to mission always springs from a desire to save and heal those who have suffered much like us.
PASSIVE CONSPIRACY TO FALSEHOOD Today, unity is about increasing the common space, what society is happy with. Those things that we disagree with, we keep to ourselves. We are called to accept falsehood, untruths and lies from our family members and loved ones for the sake of peace. We tolerate evil and after some time, as is happening in the world today, we become numb to evil and what is evil and false become the new norm and accepted by society. Yet, we know that we are living the lie. We know deep in our hearts that it is wrong. But we lack the courage to speak the truth for fear of rejection. Why do people champion the anti-life and anti-love of Satan and promote a love that is not based on truth, integrity and faithfulness?
FINDING LIFE BY BEING A NEIGHBOUR TO OTHERS The best way to love oneself is to love others, for by loving others, our love and joy is multiplied. If we love God and worship Him, it is only so that we can experience His love, be empowered by His love for us so that we can imitate Him in love. We must proactively be a neighbour to others by accepting and caring for them, near and far. The question, therefore is not “who is your neighbour?’ but “are you a neighbour?” If we make ourselves a neighbour to others then life is ours