THE IDEAL VS THE REALITY Whilst the Church needs to uphold the laws for the sake of discipline and the greater good of humanity, yet we must appreciate that many cannot not live up to the requirements of the ideals of the gospel. We need the grace of God to accept His plan for humanity, and the grace to live out this divine calling for all of us. Without His grace, we will not be able to make it because we are sinners, unteachable right from the beginning.
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FORGIVENESS IS A LIFE LONG OBLIGATION To be human is to sin, to fall short of what we are called to be. If that were the case for us, shouldn’t that be so for our fellowmen who need our forgiveness too? We must always forgive them regardless of the number of times they sin. Otherwise, what audacity do we have to ask God for forgiveness of our sins when our sins against God deserve condemnation compared to the sins our fellowmen have committed against us. If we cannot forgive, it is because we forget that we are sinners and forever in need of forgiveness.
LETTING GO OF AMBITION AND PRIDE Pride is the cause of our sins. We must learn from Moses to graciously let go and let God take over. As leaders, we are simply laying the foundation for the next leader to bring the organization to a higher level. So in truth, we build upon each other’s successes and failures. At the end of the day, it is God’s work, not ours. No one is indispensable. God will see through His projects and plans. We need not worry about what will happen when we are no longer around.
THE TRIUMPHANT CHURCH IN THE FACE OF PERSECUTION The message of the Book of Revelation is that despite all the conflicts and wars, Christ and the Christians would triumph in the end. The righteous would be rewarded and evil condemned. It is a book of hope and encouragement even for us who are under siege by the secular world today. What, then, is the basis of this certainty of a definite victory, if not the anticipated victory won by Mary for us in her assumption?
THE RIGHT USE OF PRIVILEGES Those of us who have received special privileges should use them for the good of others. Denying ourselves of our privileges is what leaders are called to do so that they can set an example for others. It is not enough to fulfill our duties and obligations; we must also go beyond what is due to us. When we deprive ourselves of our rights, we show our sincerity in service and love.
FINDING FOCUS IN THE STORMS OF LIFE Like the disciples in the gospel we all battle with the storms of life. In such moments as these, what we need to do is to withdraw. This is the first stage of finding focus. We cannot continue to fight the battle when we have lost our focus, our direction and our sanity. When we are angry, disillusioned and resentful, we cannot remain objective. We need to withdraw from the hurly burly of life and enter inward to find ourselves. Only then can we become more aware of ourselves, our anger, feelings and motives.
FAITH AS A LOVING AND TRUSTING RESPONSE TO THE PRIOR LOVE OF GOD FOR US Unless we have experienced God’s prior love for us, we cannot have a faith that is well founded on our personal experience and conviction. It will only be an intellectual faith or a blind faith, not something that we can personally testify to. However, if we have experienced God’s love and security before, then we can pray in faith that God will hear us today, since He has already heard us before.
LIVING LIFE RADICALLY If we want to live, we must live in the most radical manner. Unfortunately, most people always live on the superficial level. They never bother to ask the ultimate questions of life. What is it that can bring us real happiness? What is the ultimate security of your life or where do you put my security?
LIVING OUT THE EUCHARIST IN A LIFE OF CHARITY AND SELF-SACRIFICE St Lawrence truly understood the relationship between the Eucharist and the body of Christ. He did not simply celebrate the Eucharist but he lived it out in his commitment to the poor. He knows that the body of Christ is not just the Eucharist that we receive but the Church. He would have remembered the words of Jesus in the gospel “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” (Mt 25:45)
UNDAUNTED FAITH We must believe that God will hear our prayers, even when we do not know how to pray as we ought. All we need to do is to surrender the little efforts and trust that we have to the Lord, and He will elevate us further in our faith in Him, a faith that will set us free.