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The True Worship

Ang Magmahal Nang Magmahal Nang Magmahal
August 6, 2020
PARADOX
August 7, 2020
PITIK-BULAG: The True Worship
 
Our spiritual awakening towards real worship is a lifetime process. We are slow learners. We may have the genuine intention to know, love, and serve God, but unfortunately, our knowledge of faith needs constant unlearning, re-orientation, and learning of new things about Jesus and our faith in Him. God knows too our blindness, our inability to see things in His perspective, thus, the Lord would always remind untiringly of the meaning of true worship.
 
Peter knew who Jesus was in his declaration of faith: “Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16). Yet, he could not grasp the idea of a SUFFERING AND WOUNDED MESSIAH. He believed in a messiah that will destroy all evil and save Israel from bondage. The idea of a SUFFERING WOUNDED REDEEMER was beyond his faith. Thus, he scolded Jesus when introduced to the disciples of His own suffering, humiliation death on the cross, and His resurrection on the third day. (Matthew 16:21). EVERY WORD ENTERED INTO THE MIND OF THE DISCIPLES, EXCEPT THE RESURRECTION PART. A natural human reaction of our inclination to hear bad news but not the good news. Sigh!
 
“And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, ‘God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.'” (Matthew 16:22).
 
The Unlearningand Re-orientation Moments:
 
1. The Need to Embrace Suffering and Pain.
 
And Jesus retaliated, “But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” (Matthew 16:23).
 
The disciples missed the point! They failed to understand that embracing suffering, wounds, humiliation, helplessness, and hopelessness was part of His redemptive action. He must go to Jerusalem and face His death on the cross in SAVE TO US. Think about it. We do suffer a lot to save or help people. To love someone would mean to suffer for them. Loving and suffering go hand in hand. They are twins and inseparable. Don blame someone if you’re in pain and suffering now. The fault lies in you because you have decided to love someone.
 
2. Discipleship is Not a Stroll in the Mall.
 
The disciples fell in love with Jesus because of His power to heal the multitudes instantly and make jaw-dropping miracles. Their desire to follow Jesus was rooted in HIS WORKS, but not on HIS WORDS. They loved His miracles, but not his message of salvation.
 
We are like the disciples. We adore our Lord when our prayers are answered. We follow Him in good times but doubt His love in bad times. In this pandemic crisis, many of us are disappointed with God. We complain a lot and yet we don’t do anything. Discipleship is not a stroll in the mall, it is denying ourselves and carrying our cross.
 
Thus, the Lord gave us the real meaning of discipleship, of loving HIm:
 
“Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:254-25).
 
We need to unlearn the idea that following Jesus means having good times at all times. True happiness means thinking less of ourselves and more of the others. To gain life, we need to lose it. Cross is inevitable. Our experience of suffering and being wounded are consequences of our decision to love. When we decided to love someone, we decided to love ourselves less. Yes, there is a resurrection and glory waiting for us, but suffering comes first. There’s no glory without pain, as we used to say.
 
3. The Hidden Treasure.
 
There is an irony in denying ourselves and carrying our cross. The purpose of God is not to deny us life but to give it. We begin to know ourselves when we lose ourselves. We gain something each time we give. We save someone each time we deny ourselves. Our loss is gain to someone. Our suffering means healing to our loved ones. In the final analysis, when our Lord invites us to LEAVE EVERYTHING FOR HIS SAKE, it is because HE WANTS US TO BE HAPPY. I remember a quote from Jim Elliot (who was killed for bringing the gospel to the natives): “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep – to gain what he cannot lose.”
 
Discipleship is a lifetime process, but we learn from the Master along the way. We have lots of questions in life. We are lost and confused when darkness comes, especially now in the midst of the pandemic. Yet, the only way to grab some understanding is to fully trust Jesus and just follow His footsteps. Slowly, learn to let go of your selfish desire and carry our daily crosses. Don’t run away from your Jerusalem, face it with courage. Love must inspire you. Love drives away all fears. Face this COVID challenge with great hope and faith. Do it in the name of love.
 
– Pitik-Bulag.
 
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August 7, 2020 – Friday
Gospel Reading: Matthew 16: 24-28.

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