Father-Son-Holy Spirit

GOD’S WORD TODAY - Ruben M. Tanseco S.J. - The Philippine Star

Our all-loving God relates to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is how much He cares for us. He is our constant companion in all our human needs, unless we turn our backs on Him and become self-centered rather than God-centered.

God decided to be one among us, so that He can be our role-model in what it means to be a loving human person, and at the same time He is God the Son. Jesus Christ. And the cross is the supreme act of His love. But it does not end there. Death-Resurrection-Ascencion-Holy Spirit. Jesus went through all this as His gift of love for us all. All means all of mankind. All of creation. The spiritual author Wm. Maestri describes God-the-Son as all-loving, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-merciful, all-forgiving, all-provident. His heart reached out to the poor and hungry, the sick, the handicapped. He healed all kinds of diseases; He multiplied loaves of bread and fishes to feed thousands. He knew the past, the present, and the future. He was so forgiving that even as He was crucified on the cross, His heart spoke and He said: “Father, forgive them…”

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus clarifies that the works of God-the-Son are the works that you and I are asked to do. “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.” (Jn.14:12-14). These words of Jesus are very humbling indeed, and most assuring of His love for each one of us.

In this regard, the message of Pope Francis to all of us is most meaningful. Allow me to quote it here: “Jesus lived the daily reality of the most ordinary people: he was moved as he faced the crowd that seemed like a flock without a shepherd; he wept before the sorrow that Martha and Mary felt at the death of their brother, Lazarus; he called a publican to be his disciple; he also suffered betrayal by a friend. In him God has given us the certitude that he is with us, he is among us. . . . Jesus has no house, because his house is the people, it is we who are his dwelling place, his mission is to open God’s doors to all, to be the presence of God’s love.” (Pope Francis, Thoughts and Words for the Soul, 2014, p. 196).

In this connection, I am inspired to share with my readers my vocation to the priesthood. All the way to my college graduation, I had no desire nor plan to be a priest. My plan was to earn a living, save money, and improve my lifestyle with a loving wife and children. Until a year later, my vocation to the priesthood was awakened by a simple but inspiring article in the newspaper. It was God’s way of calling me to serve and reach out to others. I am not patting myself on the shoulder, but am expressing profound gratitude to the Lord for calling me to this way of loving my fellow human beings. Relational problems of individuals, premarital and marital couples, and families are just so many, especially today, since many have become victims of social media, materialism, narcissism, and lack or absence of spirituality.

However, there are also individuals, couples, and families that are faithful disciples of Christ. They really reach out to the poor and marginalized, help the sick as well as victims of social injustice. These are found not only among priests and nuns, but among lay people from all sectors of society. Compassion is actively present in the hearts of many Filipinos. Let us keep praying that more and more of our countrymen will respond to Christ’s call and conversion to His discipleship.

We have many NGO’s and parish organizations that are actively involved in the ministry that we are talking about. But the word I want to emphasize is MAGIS, the MORE. This would include individuals, couples, and families who are not members of such organizations. More of our fellow-Filipinos can do more as a loving response to God’s call.

“On the night before he died, Jesus asks his disciples to take up ‘the work that I do’: The work of humble servanthood that places the hurts and pains of others before our own, the work of charity that does not measure the cost, the work of love that transcends limits and conditions. The simplest work of compassion and charity, done in God’s spirit of love is to do the very work of Christ; the most hidden and unseen acts of kindness will be exalted as great in the kingdom of his Father.” (Connections, May 2017, p.2).

Here was a family who were scheduled to leave for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land within two weeks. The couple has two children, a twenty-year-old son and an eighteen-year-old daughter. Just a week before the trip, the son made a painful confession to his parents that he had debts from different sources that amounted to twenty million pesos. This was due to his involvement with drugs for the past year or so, and now, he was involved in a rehabilitation program, and he was under the spiritual direction from a priest in their parish. The son’s conversion has been so sincere and deep, and so the parents gave him their compassion, love, and forgiveness. His sister was likewise very supportive of his spiritual awakening. The family went through a process of discernment under the guidance of their parish priest. They decided to cancel their trip to the Holy Land, since they needed the money to pay the debts, and the next few months were really an experience of mourning and bereavement. But they became even closer to one another as a family. And their relationship with God and love for Him became much stronger than before. Amen.

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