Journal Entry for 30 November 2014
Happy New Year! :)
Today marks the first Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the liturgical calendar for 2015. As we bid farewell to the Year of the Laity, we welcome the Year of the Poor, which is consistent with the theme of the Papal Visit this January, Mercy and Compassion.
In today's Gospel, the Lord tells us to be watchful, stay awake, and be alert, because we do not know when the time will come.
I attended the mass at Monte Carlo this afternoon and the priest, Fr. Freddie Penoliar shared a beautiful reflection on the Gospel and the Advent Season in general.
He began by telling a story. A bishop and a newly-ordained priest went to Vatican. They stayed in the same room, on separate beds. Before they went to sleep, they both said their prayers. The bishop told the Lord, "Dear God, I am a bishop and the person I am with now is a newly-ordained priest. I will pray longer than he does so that he would know that I truly am a prayerful man." On the other side of the room was the newly-ordained priest telling the Lord, "Dear God, I am a newly-ordained priest and my companion is a bishop. I will pray much longer than he does so that he would know that I truly am a prayerful man."
An hour passed and the two religious were still praying. After another hour, they're still on their knees. After two and a half hours, they both fell asleep.
The moral of the story: Do the right thing for the right reason, and for the right purpose.
Advent originated from the Latin word "adventus" which means, "coming." And because someone comes, we prepare. Notice how we prepare for the arrival of Pope Francis in January. We don't just repair the roads he would be taking, nor secure the places he would go to, we also ready our hearts to receive him and the message he would bring, having the firm belief that he is the representative of Christ Himself. We have been praying the "National Prayer for the Papal Visit" in every mass since August. We do all these things that we may be ready when the Pope comes. GMA News even has an "I AM POPE READY" portal. Come January, we could truly be "Pope-ready" but the greater challenge is for us to be "Christ-ready."
There are three comings of Jesus Christ:
1. His coming in History
2. His coming in the present
3. His coming at the Last Day
We can no longer change how He came in history nor we can tell when's the Last Day, but what we have is the present, our everyday encounters with Him through the people we meet, through our prayer and devotion, and through the tiniest details and realities of our lives.
Fr. Freddie gave these three practical tips on how to prepare for the coming of the Lord:
1. Put God always at the center of your life.
A familiar Gospel acclamation is this: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you." Proverbs 3:6 says, "Put God first and He will crown all your efforts with success." Give God the first priority in your life, because He alone suffices. As St. Teresa of Avila realized in her journey, "Solo Dios Basta." (God alone suffices! | God is enough!)
2. Grow always in love. Huwag mapagod magmahal. Because the measure by which we will all be judged is the measure of our love. And the measure of love is to love without measure. Love is our very identity as followers of the Lord. We remain His disciples as long as we love. ("By this they will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:35)
3. Let go of everything and let God come into your life. Detach yourself from the things of this world because we do not belong here ("Our citizenship is in heaven." Philippians 3:20). Truth is, what we refuse to let go in this world, we will lose after.
To sum up, we can truly prepare for the coming of the Lord by being these three M's:
1. Madasalin (prayerful: God first)
2. Mahabagin (compassionate: Growing in love)
3. Mapagtiwala (trusting: that God loves us and will take care of us if we allow Him to)
We're now on the second week of Advent and as we continue with our journey towards holiness, we ask for the graces from the Lord, that we may truly become prayerful, compassionate, and trusting, so that when He finally comes (on the last day), He would find us awake and ready. :)
|Photo Credit: St. James Greenfield|