The Parable of the Sower

In Mark 4:3-9, Jesus gave us the parable of the sower.  The story goes that a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

We all want to be the good soil.  So the question is how.

When you receive a package from the courier guy, you don’t criticize how he looks or even the wrapper.  The courier guy probably must be all drenched in sweat and the package may look dirty because of the handling.  But we don’t really care about how the courier guy looks or the how the package is wrapped. We know that he is just a messenger and he is there to deliver the message.  What we are interested in is what is inside the package.  So what do we do?  We accept the package, open it up, and use it.

In contrast, when we attend Mass, we sometimes criticize the priest, the choir or even the church itself.  Granting that there are priests who deliver great sermons and others do not, they are all messengers.  What is important is the Word of God.  We listen, we absorb it or learn from it and then we make it part of our life.

Priests are not the only ones who are the messengers of the Good News.  You and I can carry them (that is why we are called disciples).  The Good News is often wrapped in deeds, stories or simple conversations.  They are often not referenced to a particular verse in the Bible.  The stories may not be told to your liking but nevertheless, the message is there.  This is where the difference lies whether you represent the rocky ground, the thorns or the good soil.  It is how we discern the events that we see and hear.

I remember my nephew Geosch when he was 6 years old was asked how he defines happiness.  He said,”doing the things you love with the ones you love.”  It is one of the most profound statements I’ve ever heard and several times I used it in making critical decisions.  And I got it from a 6 year old kid.

When President Duterte delivers his midnight advisories, usually he makes many side comments.  And many times these side comments become the focal point of discussions in social media.  Then people ridicule him.  People mock him.  He doesn’t deserve it.  It is like mocking the courier guy for how sweaty he is.  It’s cruel.  I understand it is easy to be caught up by the noise of self-righteousness.  But can we just forgive the man of his imperfections and focus on the main message?

The Word of God is everywhere.  Let us humble ourselves and be open in receiving it and applying it to our life.  Let us not blame the messenger for how it is delivered or focus on the dirty wrapper.  Let us keep our eyes glued to the message.  Seek for the Word of God.  Everyday.

 

(Photo by Jun Ynion)

Built-in Regulation Mechanism: Part 1

Life is like a buffet, it is abundant.  If you have been to a buffet, no matter how plenty and limitless the food is, you can only eat so much.  Our stomach can only digest so much.  It varies of course between people.  When you have eaten enough, your body will tell you to stop.  You will probably experience tightness in your stomach, shortness of breath, nausea or even dizziness. When you experience this, it is actually too late.  When your body experiences threshold level, it sends signals to your brain to stop.  Your brain takes time to respond.  The lag, which is the equivalent to the excess food that you’ve taken, can lead to high blood, hypertension or even heart attack.

I believe God designed life to be abundant for us to enjoy it.  But He also placed a built-in regulation mechanism everywhere to maintain balance.  Maintaining balance is elusive but should never be ignored when we look at the world in general and in human life.

The World

God made the plants, birds, insects, wild animals, hills, valleys, air and human beings and placed them in one planet to coexist.  In Genesis 2: 15,

Then the LORD God took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and keep it. And the LORD God commanded him, “You may eat freely from every tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die.”

The story of the Fall of Man tells us about our greed.  There are probably a million trees in the Garden of Eden, A MILLION TREES, yet we still ate the fruit of that one tree, ONE TREE, God forbade us.  Look at what we are doing now.  There are literally thousands of varieties of plants and fruits that we can eat.  There are tons of fish and rice that we can make.  Yet there are people who eat cockroaches, snakes, monkeys and bats.  This virus that is currently rampaging the whole world came from bats.  God made bats look scary and hid them in the darkest corners of the world to tell us – YOU SHOULD NOT EAT THEM.  Yet we ate them.  So now this is what is happening, “for in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die.”

This is the built-in regulation mechanism of the world in action and we are paying the price for it.

Bullying is a hot topic nowadays in school.  As the dominant species in this planet, we are acting like bullies.  Not because we are more intelligent and higher in intuition doesn’t give us the right to impose our will to everything in this world.  We separate the baby cows from their mothers the moment they are born and put them in cages, disregarding the cry of the mother without remorse.  We pollute the air to create toys for our enjoyment.  We destroy forests and cut the trees that serve as homes of several species of birds, to make our coffee table.  The thing that bothers me is that we are all part of this.  Human beings have built systems that integrate this inhumane and disrespectful acts.

If we don’t clean up our acts together, the world will always self regulate and the price could be greater.

It is our greed that is killing us.  This pandemic is telling us that the world can exist without us humans and grimly it seems it is better off without us.  As the dominant species, we need to be RESPONSIBLE in taking care of this planet. There are currently 7.5 billion people in the world.  The population is increasing at an alarming rate of 7 to 8% per year.  The emphasis on nurturing essential skills like respect, responsibility, and self-control has never been more urgent than this time.

Fortunately, there is still time.  We still have our chance to make this right and to be better stewards of the world.

(Part 2 soon.)

 

 

 

Who are we

One of Etan’s favorite this lockdown period aside from dinosaurs and insects is Moana.  He particularly loves Maui singing You’re Welcome and Tamatoa’s Shiny.  He would play those clips over and over again while dancing on the couch.  Etan is my four year son and he has the potential to be a great performer.

Moana is a lovely movie and it is a perfect reminder to all of us.  The people of Motonui had a decent life in an island until their fruits and plants started to decay brought about by a terrible curse incurred by a Demigod Maui.  The Chief didn’t know what to do and the people were scared.  Moana’s grandma suggested to look for Maui, take him aboard the boat, sail across the ocean and restore the heart of Te fiti.  Moana responded to Gradma’s call and sailed beyond the reef to look for Maui.  With the ocean’s help, she finally found Maui but they came up short and were beaten by the lava monster named Te Ka.  When Maui gave up because his magic hook was broken, Moana took upon herself to make things right and she was able to restore the heart of Te fiti.

Life is filled with barriers that make us afraid to venture beyond the reef.  Life within the barricade can be decent.  There is food, some shelter and wifi.  The world labeled this as a simple life and that we should remain contented.  We don’t need to go beyond the reef because everything we need is right here in this island.

This crisis taught us how vulnerable we are.  A simple curse brought by the irresponsibility of some folks in Wuhan is taking a toll on our ‘simple life’.  We have been removed from our normal life for three weeks now and it is threatening our health, both mental and physical.  We dream of a demigod to save us and when there is no food left, we become monsters destroying and killing everything we could get our hands on.

This crisis is telling us that life within the barricade is decent but debilitating.  It is debilitating because it makes you forget who you are.  We don’t live just to eat, breath and put some shelter above our head.  We live because we need to give love.  We love less because we are afraid.  To overcome fear all we need is to restore our heart.  We don’t need a demigod to restore it, you and I are capable of doing it ourselves.

We need to remember who you are.  And who are we?  This poem by Marianne Williamson best describes who we are.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other

people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.