Pentecost

When was the last time you truly surrender your life to God?

Tough question.

Difficult to answer.

Profound reflection for today’s gospel.

The “big message” for Pentecost Sunday that reverberated in the ampula of my pancreas was to be more selfless. Give up our own way and trust that God’s way is better.

When you put yourself last, God puts you first.

God’s will is always better than your will. You cannot see tomorrow, but He can. He wants you to be happy more than you want to be happy.

God’s will comes from living in a relationship with Jesus, and this relationship begins when you surrender your life completely to Him.

Pentecost

Jesus wants us to be more humble in how we recognize the evidence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Lord is very clear that He will reveal Himself to us in recognizable ways, and so we have to look primarily at what’s going on inside of us. When we find ourselves capable of saying “I forgive” in the name of Christ; when we love those who oppose us and even make sacrifices for them; when we give of ourselves with delight and not grudgingly; all of these are sure signs that God’s Spirit is alive and active within us.

The word, Pentecost, comes from the Greek word for five, penta, meaning the fiftieth day. It was also called the Day of First Fruits, Festival of Weeks, and Shabuoth. In the Christian tradition, we use the color red, remembering the red flames of the Holy Spirit. It is a celebration of hope and renewal of purpose and mission.

If you have found that your Christian Faith is weak and not growing, you need to call upon the Holy Spirit. Whether it is a life-changing moment, or simply an ordinary moment when you need assistance, the Holy Spirit is there for you.

At that first Christian Pentecost, The Holy Spirit transformed uncertain, frightened, weak apostles and reconstituted the Twelve Tribes of the New Israel in the New Covenant. The flames that were unleashed that day continue to burn throughout the world in our day. The Holy Spirit can transform you too but you need to be more selfless.

It took Pentecost–and the power of the Spirit–to embolden the apostles to begin their ministry of preaching and baptizing. Conversions began to happen and the early church began to grow. And all of this took place without Jesus’ earthly presence among them.

We have to make way for the Holy Spirit in our lives.

We believe that through the Holy Spirit, God dwells within us and empowers us. We believe that even though we never walked with Jesus and the apostles, we are nonetheless accompanied by the same Spirit who is always available to us!

I will close with a wonderful and relevant prayer by St. Ignatius of Loyola called the Suscipe:
“Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understandingand my entire will,

All I have and call my own. You have given all to me.

To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will.

Give me only your love and your grace.

That is enough for me.”

Let’s remember to pray for each other that we will achieve what Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20, “It is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”

Through the Holy Spirit, may we learn to yield more in God’s presence.

Jardin

Do you need a hassle-free venue for a wedding reception in Tagaytay?

Check out Jardin De Padre Pio, which is conveniently located at the compound of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.

The event place offers room accommodation, a beautiful verdant garden reception area and an indoor hall perfectly suited for your simply made perfect moment.

They are one of the most competitive venue rates in the area.

My wife and I was introduced to Bro. Allan Samson, a Capuchin brother who was in-charged of the venue back 2013. He was very cordial and very accommodating.

Jardin de Padre Pio

The beautiful Jardin de Padre Pio in Tagaytay.

Kuya Willie Gatpandan, the ever-reliable wedding supplier in upland Cavite introduced him to us.

The venue is suitable for wedding, baptism, birthday celebrations and small conferences.

After five (5) years of having our wedding reception in the venue, I had a chance to visit the place and I was amazed on the improvements and it looks more amazing as ever.

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If only the trees could speak and share the beautiful occassions held in the place. I would be glad to hear it and share my wonderful memories as well.

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Fifth

“I have tomorrow to look forward to, for God has given me you.”

I will always look forward to your smile as my strength to fight all our battles.

I will always remember what you said: “I know nothing about having a perfect marriage or at least a good one, but if God comes first before ourselves then we got nothing to worry about. So whatever comes our way – by prayer, love and petition we will overcome in victory! We are one of God’s miracle & living testimony. Cheers to more years of faith, love and healing.”

More years of serving & loving the Lord!

Thank you Lord for all the graces.

See you soon my blessed half.

I Love You 😘 Happy five years of serving and loving the Lord misis ko! ❤❤❤

Fifth

Five things that my wife and I love doing together: eat, eat, eat, eat & eat plus a little travel. 😁

More years to come! #healed #loved #grateful

23

You give me hope in my times of trial, joy in my saddest hours and love in all I do.

Happy 23rd day of the month to the most loving and caring woman – my greater half Jude Borja! #blessed #grateful

Distance never separates two hearts that really care, for our memories span the miles and in seconds we are there.

But whenever I start feeling sad, because I miss you, I remind myself how lucky I am to have someone so special to miss. I love you!

#ldr #tighthugs #mwahmwahtsuptsup

23

You are a special gift from the heavens. Your smile warms my heart and your presence makes me whole. I love you today and forever! You make me complete. Your perfection I adore. There is no distance I cannot go to see you smile each day. I love you! You make my love melt at you, when your eyes gaze at me I become addicted at you my sweet heart. I love you so much my dear! You changed my world from the day you entered into my life. The change is not simple and subtle, it’s a change brought color to my life and made a meaning for the same. Words cannot describe how much you mean and important to me! You are my angel and I would like to see your smile always to boost up my day. I cannot imagine a day without you and without your smile. I like to be in the shadow of your love and affection forever. Thank you so much for being my wonderful wife. ❤

 

Silang

Are you in a long-distance relationship (LDR)?

I am.

It was never easy.

So every opportunity that my wife and I are together, we spent the most out of it.

One thing that we enjoy doing together are palengke tours.

Palengke Silang

“Falling in love in a Christian way is to say, ‘I am excited about your future and I want to be part of getting you there. I’m signing up for the journey with you. Would you sign up for the journey to my true self with me? It’s going to be hard but I want to get there.” – Tim Keller

During her last vacation, the public market of Silang was our go-to palengke for the best deals in upland Cavite.

Abundance of seafoods, farm-fresh produced, childhood knick knacks and mouth-watering Pinoy delicacies right at your finger tips.

This is just one of the many activities that we enjoy together.

What are your couple goals?

If your marriage is good, these six things can help you grow closer according to iMom.com. If your marriage is so-so or even worse, they could help you give it a push in the right direction towards bonding time with your spouse. This is for the ilaw ng tahanan special note series.

1. Are courteous and kind to each other.
A little kindness goes a long way. Try to treat your husband like he’s a good friend. If you’re rude and snippy to your husband, why will he want to be nice to you?

2. Talk about issues before they get out of hand.
In marriage, you have to choose your battles but, if you sense that an irritation is becoming a major annoyance, you need to talk about it with your husband.

3. Believe in each other.
If you think your husband is a loser, you’re going to treat him that way. Even if he has a track record of business failures or poor decisions, keep your opinion of those outcomes separate from who he is as a person.

4. Assume the best about each other.
Look for the good things about your husband and assume the best in his actions and words. Instead of assuming that he has bad intentions, give him the benefit of the doubt before you jump to conclusions.

5. Live in a “we” world.
Couples who are close use words that show they are set apart. Try to say, “Our bedroom, our house, our children, etc.” Think of you and your husband as a team.

6. Touch.
It sounds corny, but hugs are healthy. So hug your husband when he comes home, instead of just giving him a quick peck on the cheek or lips. Touch his shoulder while he’s driving; hold hands while you pray at church or offer to rub his back.

These are just few tips for the wife but coming from a husband, don’t forget to pray for each other always.

Have a blessed relationship!

Alleluia

Are you living as an Easter people of God or still in Golgotha?

As married couples, there are a lot of practical lessons that we can learn about relationship from the death and resurrection of Christ as shared by Fr. Mark Demanuele, MSSP during the Easter Recollection organized by the The Feast Bay Area Couple’s Ministry.

As a missionary, Fr. Mark shared his journey of challenges as an Easter person.

Easter people of God

The beauty of the cross is in the promise of Easter, where God shows His natures as a redeemer and restorer. If your marriage is in a time of stress and pain, put your hope in the one who sees past the immediate circumstances of your life and into a hopeful and wonderful future. It is very possible that God could use the current difficulty in your marriage to create something even more beautiful and enduring than you could ever imagine. As you celebrate Easter with your family this year, take some time to reflect on the meaning for your marriage. Allow the wonderful and powerful spiritual truths of Easter breathe new life into your relationship, and your bond will be stronger for it.

He pointed everyone to the powerful exhortation of St. John Paul II back in 1986:

“We do not pretend that life is all beauty. We are aware of darkness and sin, of poverty and pain. But we know Jesus has conquered sin and passed through his own pain to the glory of the Resurrection. And we live in the light of his Paschal Mystery – the mystery of his Death and Resurrection. “We are an Easter People and Alleluia is our song!”. We are not looking for a shallow joy but rather a joy that comes from faith, that grows through unselfish love, that respects the “fundamental duty of love of neighbour, without which it would be unbecoming to speak of Joy”. We realize that joy is demanding; it demands unselfishness; it demands a readiness to say with Mary: “Be it done unto me according to thy word”.

In particular if Lent is a time to give things up, Easter ought to be a time to take things up.

If Calvary means putting to death things in your life that need killing off if you are to flourish as a Christian and as a truly human being, then Easter should mean planting, watering, and training up things in your life (personal and corporate) that ought to be blossoming, filling the garden with color and perfume and in due course bearing fruit.

Jesus resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven.

Characteristics of Easter people as shared by Fr. Mark:

  • Easter people rejoice in Jesus’ death AND resurrection. (Romans 5:10)
  • Easter people preach the resurrection more than one day a year. (Acts 4:2)
  • Easter people long for their resurrection brought by Jesus as much as or if not more so than a temporary bodiless existence in heaven. (1 Corinthians 15; Philippians 3:7-11; Revelation 21)
  • Easter people long to see Jesus restore creation from the curse of decay. (Romans 8 )
  • Easter people speak up at great cost against the ‘principalities and powers’ of this world because Jesus is our risen King and he is king over them all. (Colossians 1:15-20; Hebrews 2:7-9)
  • Easter people are willing to deny themselves and lose all things for the sake of Christ now because Christ, by the power of his resurrection, has promised to restore all things and reward his disciples in the ‘life after the next life’. (Matthew 19:27-28; Mark 10:28-31; Revelation 21:5)

As an “Easter People,” our response to the gift of forgiveness and eternal life compels us to try to live lives that reflect our new status. We are a people forgiven, healed and renewed by Jesus’ Body and Blood, and we are called to share that Good News with the whole world.

Our response can and should be rooted in love. As Jesus himself has told us, love for God and love for our neighbor is the foundation of Christian living. Because God first loved us, loved us so much that we were given God’s only son for our salvation, our response to this love is not only to love God as deeply and fully as we are able, but also to love everyone else as deeply and fully as we love ourselves.

As couples, our relationship with God matters most.

We need to nurture the loving relationship of husbands and wives like how Christ offered His life in the cross.

In this time of violence, strife, argument and disagreement, God continues to call us to love not to hate. God continues to call us to look beyond the immediate to the eternal.

What in a moment of anger or outrage might satisfy our pride is most probably not consistent with the loving future God wants for us.

It is not God who has created the turmoil that surrounds us; it is turmoil of our own making born from our love of self above our love of others.

This Easter, amidst the joy and celebration of our new lives in Christ, let us also celebrate the joy of new life with others.

Let us begin to set aside our pride and petty difference that not only separate us from each other, but also separate us from God.

Let us strive to become an “Easter People” who know and reflect God’s love through our love for one another as equals—equally beloved children of God.

Charm

What’s a day in the life of a missionary?

I was inspired by the story of Sis. Charmaine Lector- Villegas or simply Sis. Charm, a loving daughter of Ninong Manny & Ninang Villa Lector. She committed her life to the mission of bringing the gospel to every corners of the earth together with her husband Bro. Goi Villegas.

As a full-time missionary of Couples for Christ (CFC) Global – they are serving now in Nairobi, Kenya for the past five (5) years.

She was the only daughter.

She could have been a corporate honcho and a thriving successful businesswoman but she chose to serve God.

My wife (Jude) was a schoolmate of Sis. Charm in International Philippine School in Riyadh (IPSR).

She transformed from a nurtured OFW daughter into a missionary servant.

I was inspired how they implemented various CFC programs and how they touched lives in the African continent.

Charm

Sis. Charm & Bro. Goi Villegas in action. Ninong Manny & Ninang Villa Lector with the missionary couples (bottom right). Photo credits to the owner of the photos.

Serving a full-time mission is accepting a call to represent the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a joyful experience, but it is also hard work. To be a successful missionary, you must prepare spiritually, physically, emotionally, intellectually, and socially. Effective preparation in these ways allows you to serve “with all your heart, might, mind and strength”.

Are you called to do mission?

We are called to wholeheartedly respond to the mission works of the Catholic church.

According to Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu,the words of Saint John Paul II during his 1981 visit keep echoing in our ears and enflaming our hearts: “There is no doubt about it: the Philippines has a special missionary vocation to proclaim the Good News, to carry the light of Christ to the nations.” The pope was most emphatic, expressing his profound hope: “I wish to tell you of my special desire: that the Filipinos will become the foremost missionaries of the Church in Asia.” These are challenging words for us to take to heart!

We can be missionary by “sharing and communicating Jesus Christ to others.”

Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila shared that we can be good storytellers and we can be good missionaries who proclaim Jesus Christ if we ourselves have first-hand experience of his presence.

“Telling the Story of Jesus” as a way of doing mission.

Salvation history is “the story of God’s love affair with humanity” and all Christians can share in doing the Church’s mission by knowing Jesus’ story and sharing it through our lives.

Tagle said storytelling in order to fulfill the Church’s mission must be told by a credible witness who shows he “knows God” through his words and actions.

Citing Pope Paul VI, he said, “Our age listens more to witnesses than to teachers.”

The story one tells of Jesus’ love defines a person and builds community, Tagle added. “Our stories tell us who we are and what kind of community we are – what stories bind us together.”

There are many ways to tell a story. “Our very persons could be the story of Jesus. That’s how the saints told the story of Jesus.

Tagle said, “Many of us cannot remember Pope John Paul II’s many teachings, but only looking at pictures will remind us of his life and his person. Until his body became bent and when he was almost completely stooped he continued to serve. That’s the story of Jesus.”

If we do not do mission, we are not missionaries of Christ carrying out our pastoral work but we end up as social workers, organizers, event managers, CEO of the Church.

The Mission Society of the Philippines (MSP) serves as the official and chief missionary arm of the Catholic Church of the Philippines. Since its inception in 1965, the MSP now has been working in five continents and twelve countries. In Asia, the MSP has missions in Thailand, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea. In Oceania, it serves in Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, the Cook Islands, and Tokelau. In Europe, it is present in the Netherlands. In North America, it is present in the United States of America, while in South America, it has a mission in Guyana.

Women and men who are twenty-five (25) years of age and above, and eager to become partners of the MSP mission may join the Fil-Mission Auxiliary Association (FMAA). The FMAA is a nationwide organization, which promotes missionary consciousness in their parishes and dioceses.

However, this organization slowly expands and reaches now to some countries where the MSP is present, like South Korea, and New Zealand. Hopefully, it will soon reach to the United States, England and others.

If you are in the Philippines, you may inquire at the MSP parishes in Mandaluyong City and Cebu City, MSP Mission House in Davao City or at the MSP Central Office in Makati.

If you are living abroad, you may also contact our MSP missionaries assigned near to your areas.

For inquiries, please contact:

MSP Central Office
3791 Cuenca St.
Palanan
1235 MAKATI CITY

PHONE: (632) 551-6983
FAX: local 117
EMAIL: secgen@msp.org.ph