Filling the Void

The good about Christmas is that it is a joy-filled day in which everybody has the chance to have something joyful for. The thing I hate about Christmas is that because it only comes once in a year, things that were around last year but gone before the Christmas Day will be obvious when this day comes.

I’ll give you one example: One of my friends has lost his father this year. Last night, after my midnight mass duty, he was sobering about his father. He wishes that he was still around to celebrate Christmas this year. Unfortunately, it is no longer possible.

As this day runs through its course, and we are all enjoying ourselves, let us pause for a moment to think for those who have lost something this year. Their Christmas may have a void this year, and we are called upon to fill the gap, or at least pray for them.

Today, Jesus Christ came down on Earth to offer Himself. Let us follow in His example of offering ourselves for those who need us.

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How are you this Christmas?

When I talk about Christmas, everybody has high hopes and cheerful response. It is understandable, because Christmas is the season of joy. In contrast, I also have a few friends who see this season negatively.

Can we blame them? It is obviously not their fault that their Christmas be ruined by some unforeseen circumstance. In fact, if we can choose when something bad happens, Christmas will be the last thing we will be choosing. Unfortunately, such things are uncontrollable.

Darkness abounds their Christmas, preventing them from fully celebrating the season to its joyful extent. I wonder if there will be a chance that they will be having a joyful Christmas season after all.

It turns out that, despite the troubles and the negativity that some might be experiencing regarding this season, Jesus Christ has become the light for those who are in the darkness. We are not talking just about salvation here, but rather, the physical presence of the Son of God in the front of our eyes. For the first time, the Son has come down on Earth and lived among us (John 1:14). Finally, the Messiah has arrived!

How lucky are those who were alive during those days, as they were able to see, touch and talk to the Messiah. He offered not only Salvation, but also hope, light and joy especially to those who need it.

We may not be able to physically see, touch and talk to Jesus Christ, but He remains present. Walking, watching and loving us in ways we do not comprehend. He shares with us on our joy, and grieves with us on our sorrow. He knows what we are having and what we feel and He understands all of it, as He also experienced it during the passion on the cross.

Whatever you are having this Christmas, let the light of Christ shine upon you, for He came for all of us.

Posted in Christmas, God's Love, Jesus Christ, Joy, Light, Troubled Times | Leave a comment

Be the Present

This morning, while waiting for my morning class, I came across the photo in my Facebook Wall. It shows different “Things to Do” during Christmas. This time, however, instead of doing materialistic or selfish things to celebrate the season, it engages us to change our perspective and make ourselves the present.

Many times, in our lives we have seen that there were people who wants to be happy. What do they want? Some may want material things while others may want something different.

The greatest gift that one can offer is always his/herself. The importance of being present or having a hand for a common objective is more precious than gold and silver that can be offered. How many times we have heard stories of people who were rich but were poor in love? In this world of materialistic things, it is easy to give up to tangible objects and use them as an “excuse” for being present, instead giving them gifts.

The post on the left tells us one thing: Far more important and precious are the things that are not tangible. The gifts of time, presence and empathy are the things that can bring the utmost happiness, especially to those who find themselves in trouble. A beggar may wish to be with his/her family in this season, a person may want to have freedom from abusive housemates, or simply being able to celebrate Christmas freely and openly without fear are the examples of situations when a happiness is not measured just in objects but also in non-material things.

Today, we are inviting everyone to be like the post on the left; to be not just give the gift but also become the gift itself. After all, Christ gave not gold but rather salvation – far more important than anything this world has.

Posted in Christmas, Helping Others, Love for Others | Leave a comment

In a Snap of a Finger

There is one thing that I know from the start is that everything changes. A seemingly good life can turn into a bad one in a snap of a finger. This is the sad reality of life on this planet.

I know a person whose life was good – until they moved out in a place far away from his favorite place. Suddenly, his commute time became difficult and the once pleasant going home experience has now become a nightmare. From the previous 1 ride from home suddenly became 5 – in roads frequently hit by traffic jams. Add to that the threat of being bitten by dogs and a dark commute – risking his life. What a pitiful scenario.

Then suddenly I thought that we are all vulnerable to those scenarios. Our life may be good and pleasant now but it can change in a second.

One thing that I know that hasn’t failed for all of these things is God. Despite the changes, challenges and problems that we will face – He remains the same. His love remains the same from the past, present and will be on the future.

The challenges that we face in our lives – and my friend’s will end in time. We may not be in the favor of fate every time, still, the faith that we will show on our problems and challenges will be a stepping stone in our journey. It will not always be pleasurable life ahead of us, but God has shown us that on our lives, we have someone to hold on to, to bring our problems to, and to trust to that one day, there will light at the end of the tunnel.

Posted in Change, Faith, Suffering | Leave a comment

Fruits of Labor

One of the most exciting fruits of modern technology is being able to access the Internet either on traditional computers or on mobile devices. This means that whether you’re on the home, office or on the road, you will still be able to access information when you need it.

But there is only one drawback: If you are designing websites and Internet resources, they must work in harmony with all these devices. Easy-to-use tools and automated solutions make this job easier, but you must get around the limitations they will impose.

That is what exactly I have faced in creating the new banners in the parish website. It is interesting what things you can do with limited functionality of these solutions. As I am not a coding guru, I must use such packages. But they are also limited since making something easy means sacrificing some functionality, or at least, making them harder to see to an average user.

In the end, I succeeded. Ingenuity and skills have won the day. This reminds me and all of us of the gift that God has bestowed upon us: We are able to do because we’re given what we need. The gifts that the Lord has given us enables us to serve Him in different ways, whether directly to Him or through others. As a community, our collective efforts, combining each of our unique traits will enable us to do great things in His name.

We have been given the gifts we have because we have been called to use them. Let us put them into good things in His name.

Posted in Giving, Glory of God, God's Gift | Leave a comment

When Giving Means Love

It is common to find problems in our lives today. From small to big, this planet seems to have it all, just like a famous commercial: “We’ve got it all for you!”

Yet today, we’re taught that we should not let our guard down when it comes to giving. Listening to the homily during our live streaming session this morning, we have learned that giving is important to show love. It is possible to give without love but it is impossible to give love without giving. Love means sacrifice and to give love, giving is essential.

Aside from giving is important in love, God showed us that giving for others will result in bountiful harvest for yourself, too. It may or may not be given in the same way you have given but what you have given will be returned to you in some way. For one, giving is a reflection of love, and when that love is reflected back, you will receive.

However, the most important part of giving that we can see is, giving with all your heart and all your mind, and with all in your hands. This means we should give not only what we don’t need but rather give in a way we show the importance of the receiver. The importance of something is determined when we feel pain and sacrifice, and giving “until it hurts” is a way of showing how important that person is to us.

Today, we are being called to give especially in the approaching Christmas season. The season of giving is coming, let us show the love that God has given us through Jesus Christ.

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Hands that Changed the World

Humans can change the world. Using our hands, we have built buildings, created roads, founded communities, moved mountains and expanded oceans. It can raise praises to God and lead others. It is an awesome tool indeed.

More than carving our world, our hands are also capable of changing someone’s world. For instance, our works can mean success or failure for others. Our impact in this world is not only ours but also to others as well.

Jesus Christ’s hands are remarkable in one way. For one, it is where the nails were driven during the crucifixion. The other is that the same hands were also used to heal others from diseases and raise others from death. His hands have shown the way this world needs to be – to be with God. The work of Christ’s hands laid the foundation of the early Christian Church.

The human hands are remarkable, but Christ’s are even more remarkable than ours. With that in our possession, our ability to change the world for good is greater than ever will be.

Posted in Creation, Crucifixion, God's Love, Jesus Christ | Leave a comment

Great Men

Yesterday, the Roman Catholic Church has celebrated the feast day of St. John Paul II. In the Philippines, it is customary for his devotees to pray in churches and venerate his relics when they find one.

There are many great people who have lived in our world – Nelson Mandela, Alexander the Great, Confucius, Thomas Edison, etc. all with their accomplishments and legacy left behind even after their deaths. They changed the world in one way or another.

Reading a book about this people, I came across one person which is different from the rest – Jesus Christ. The entry of the book states birthdate as 3-7 BCE and death as 33 AD? (with a question mark). This may suggest that the researches are uncertain on whether 33 AD is the actual year of death. For Christians, the question mark may suggest even something greater, and the reason why He is different from the rest – He rose from death after three days. The question mark does not lie, for it can also mean doubt on whether He died but was rather resurrected and remains alive today – seated next to God’s throne.

When we look at it, being great isn’t just about leaving legacy behind – it also means serving the people. Jesus Christ served the people of Israel and died for our sins. In his saving grace, He left behind a legacy – legacy that we have been pardoned for our sins, and that we, like Him, will be resurrected at the end of time to be with the Lord forever.

Now, the greatest among the greats join the ranks and even greater than the rest. The news indeed of Salvation is great!

Posted in God's Gift, Jesus Christ, Sacrifice, Salvation | Leave a comment

Changes to the Official Blog

The official blog of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish – Barasoain Church has been a resource for people who wish to deepen their faith through reflective stories, articles and periodicals. As such its content and structure is being reviewed consistently.

After three years since we have regularly posted articles and posts in this blog, it was decided to review the blog and its policies and structure. The following changes will be implemented beginning 16 October 2018:

  • The content of the blog will not be restricted to a weekly schedule anymore. As such articles will be posted at random intervals depending on the availability of posts and articles.
  • The blog post structure will be changing from Our Daily Bread-related format to a more structured paragraph format.
  • The font size and style will change to accommodate larger screens in computers while allowing smaller devices to scale the content better to enhance readability.

The changes are due to the restructuring efforts of the Department of Social Media and Publications to better allow its resources to be equally devoted to its programs and maintenance of its channels of communications in the cyberspace.

As such, we hope for your understanding regarding these changes. Thank you for your continued support and patronage of our blog.

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In a world full of problems, having one that will help and become a companion is as precious as gold. People will always need a companion, but not everyone is willing or has the time to be one.

The fast-paced world that we live in reflects how times have changed. Oftentimes we do not have enough time to listen to others and to be with them. We are always preoccupied with our concerns that we forget what concerns the others. While we cannot blame ourselves for being unable to give attention to them, we are also reminded not to forget them.

As we have previously mentioned, “misery loves company.” It holds true when we are alone. We are more vulnerable to committing unthinkable acts or even sin against the Lord when we are not guided. This is more profound when we have problems.

So how are we supposed to respond into this situation?

In our dark world, we are called to be one with others. The Proverbs tells us that “a friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17) Being with our fellow believers especially in the times of trouble is a calling from God that we are to be as brothers and sisters working together in faith and love for uplifting His name. Thus, as we continue our journey in this world, no matter how difficult life could be, we are also given the community that “encourage one another and build one another up.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Perhaps you may be wondering how are we going to make ourselves available to others? The answer is simple: Presence. Our mere presence is a big help to those suffering. Our presence sends a strong message of sympathy towards others. Sometimes, our money or words may not encourage others, but our presence and our willingness to listen will make a big difference.

Jesus has become one of us to be with us, like Him, we are also called to be with one another.

Posted in Interdependence, Love for Others, Others | Leave a comment