“Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled." John 6:26
Today's Gospel reading came a day after Jesus has miraculously fed around 5,000 persons. The people were all filled and they wanted more. Realizing that Jesus and his disciples were gone, they got into the other boats and went to the Capernaum to look for Jesus. Upon seeing Him, they asked when He arrived there.
Jesus knows what is in their hearts and replied to them that their motive for looking after Him is misplaced because they are only after their physical well-being and welfare. They are over-looking a more and deeper message that Jesus is trying to bring into them - their eternal salvation through Him. The people was right in looking for Jesus but it was not for the right reason.
Seventeen years ago, my wife and I made our single most important vow that will determine our future life. We have invested time and prayers in over eight years before embarking on a lifetime journey of togetherness. Like all marriages, we have our own share of trials and difficulties but with God's guidance and blessings we are doing fine and we are still excited at what life has in store for us and our family.
In all modesty, I can claim that my decision to be married was right and for the right reason.
But it did help a lot that I did met the right person.
Happy Anniversary to my dearest and only love!
Last Palm Sunday, the responsorial psalms came from Psalms 22: 8-9, 17-20 and 23-24.
All who see me scoff at me;
they mock me with parted lips, they wag their heads:
“He relied on the LORD; let him deliver him,
let him rescue him, if he loves him.”
Indeed, many dogs surround me,
a pack of evildoers closes in upon me;
They have pierced my hands and my feet;
I can count all my bones.
They divide my garments among them,
and for my vesture they cast lots.
But you, O LORD, be not far from me;
O my help, hasten to aid me.
(image source: vikasacharya.wordpress.com)
Widely known to have been written by King David during his reign of Israel around the years 1,055 t0 1015 BC, the words were strikingly and accurately detailed in its prophecy of how our Lord would suffer the extreme sacrifice and utter disrespect at the hands of His creation. There is no single iota of doubt for any believer how God has planned our salvation since the beginning, how the ancient prophets who listened to God’s messages will precede Jesus coming and how Jesus will suffer the penultimate penalty of suffering and death as a ransom for our deliverance. Through the years, God made sure that His eternal plan for us will happen by anointing people, repentant sinners and saints alike, to prepare Christ’s coming and to propagate His salvific mission long after His resurrection. From Abraham to Noah, to Moses, to Saul, from David to Solomon and to all the prophets up to John the Baptist, despite their constant failures, remained focus in sharing and doing their part to fulfil God’s mission.
God has a plan for each one of us!
As the prophet Jeremiah was called by God by saying “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.” (Jeremiah 1:5), so we can also be assured of His calling for each one of us.
He plans for us to live fruitful and significant lives.
He plans for us to be one of His apostles in this ever-changing world where materialism and Godlessness prevails.
He plans for us to be His disciples of hope and love amidst people of indifference and apathy towards others in need.
He plans for us to follow His call to faithfulness despite the difficulties, challenges and weariness in our own lives.
But like God’s original plan for our salvation, He needs our cooperation for Him to accomplish this.
He can only work on us if we are open to His inner workings in us.
And so He lovingly waits for each one of us.
Will you accept His invitation?
On December 8, 1941, the then Japanese Imperial Army launched their invasion attack on the Commonwealth of the Philippines. It was the start of a 3-year brutal and inhuman atrocities by the occupiers on the hapless and helpless poor Filipinos. It took the famous return of Gen Douglas McArthur at Leyte Gulf to regain their liberation. But the human cost during the occupation was so devastating with an estimated 1 million Filipinos dying, more than 10,000 American-soldier and more than 250,000 Japanese-soldier casualties. The Japanese resistance went on despite the victories by the Fil-American forces until the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed by the United States on August 6 and 9, 1945 respectively.
It was the last straw.
Japan finally surrendered and signed the Instrument of Surrender with many leading countries at that time.
That was September 2, 1945.
As destiny would have it on this same auspicious day, our beloved Dad, Silvino C. Santos Sr., was also born. It was a peaceful time to be born yet the difficulties and uncertainties of nation rebuilding hangs on every Filipinos mind. But, with the loving perseverance of his parents and his determination and hardwork, he finished his studies at the University of the East and was able to be employed at Marcelo H. Del Pilar School where he met his future love of a lifetime – our mom. After getting married, they would have planned for a one-boy-one-girl child family but we ended with a basketball team (4 boys + dad) and with a muse (our mom). From then on, it was just an avalanche of trials and challenges but he piously stood his ground as the head and provider of our family, a steady sail and rudder that gave us all spiritual direction.
When we were growing, Dad would give praise when it is due and would discipline us when it is necessary. He slowly inculcated in us the virtue of hard-work by admonishing us to participate and contribute to the house chores and small family businesses even it means just giving change to customers, washing dishes or running errands. On the other hand, he freely allows us to play our hearts out with friends when there is no chore or work to be done. He did not supervise us or look over our shoulder when we were out with our friends. Instead, he puts premium on his trust on us that we will not make any stupid action that can harm us, our family or others. In return, my brothers and I valued and kept this unspoken father-and-son trust unblemished (ok, so we maybe did some crazy stuffs then but nothing at the “serious” level). We eventually turn out to be fine young men.
Fast forward to today, our Dad, is celebrating his 70th birthday, a remarkable and memorable milestone for him and for our family. All four of us his sons are now well in our own family way. Not that Dad has totally left us each on our own, instead he (and mom) simply took more steps backwards to make sure we do things on our own yet always and still ready to give advice if something is amiss. I guess the father-and-son trust is still at play in our family.
Maybe for some, being 70 means sipping a cold pineapple juice while pushing back and forth on a cozy comfort rocking chair watching the sun setting over the horizon. This is not true for our Dad. With 10 young grandchildren in our circle, there is simply no time to rest for him as he continues his latest role as the doting grandfather Papa Ben to each one of them. He still opens, attends and closes their small convenience store and delivers cooking gas to his clients everyday. He keeps his mind whirring by keeping abreast with world and national news and politics. Just a few days back, he received a recognition plaque and medal from his alma mater MHPHS alumni group for many years of coordinating and organizing their reunions and projects. Recently, he was browsing the net on bungee-jumping and sky-diving as part of his future activities but we are strongly opposed to these extreme sports since these are detrimental to one’s health – our mom.
Cheers to our Dad on his 70th birthday!
We are so blessed and proud to have a father with integrity, humility and piety by our side all these years and in the years to come.
We love you po!
God bless you always.