Sharing this wisdom from a person deprived of liberty (PDL). This is his reflection on yesterday's Gospel, Luke 6:43-49.
by PDL Max
Today’s gospel in Luke shows us our real identity as believers and followers of Christ. The believers and followers of Christ are supposed to be Good people inside and out.
In our Gospel, Jesus teaches us that we can know the status of our faith-life by its fruits. Jesus says “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit… A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” This is a reminder that we cannot really hide what fills our hearts because it would always come out in our words and actions. Simply put, one cannot fake one’s faith.
My many years of service in the Church allowed me to see Church workers come and go. Those whose motivations were money, fame or power, they could not sustain their service. They were those who were easily frustrated especially when their desires were unmet. But there were also who were there in the beginning and did stay and still active at present. We could tell why they are still in the service, and pretty much active. I would say, if you may agree, their hearts bleed care and service for the Church and Her people.
And yet, it doesn’t mean that our impure motivations cannot change since our service in the Church is a sacred space for us to encounter the Holy Spirit. We, Christians, believe that Jesus has given us His Spirit to be our Paraclete. The Holy Spirit is our constant help and guide in building strong foundations of our faith. This way, we will not be shaken when storms meet us.
Let me illustrate this with my personal experience.
The foundation of my faith was tested and shaken when I got married.
I forgot the Lord not because of money and wealth but because of disobeying him in so many ways and I even ignored simple instructions from my parents. I had no time for the Lord, my wife and children would never go to church to pray and give thanks for all the blessings that we received from him. For almost 18 years of my life, I focused on work and family and had very little time for God. I did not realize this lack in faith until I was brought here. It was only here that I became active in the Church again. I participate in our services to the poor. I also became hungry for the word of God. Many times, I have experienced that when you believe in God without hesitation, he would be there in action through the Holy Spirit. I say this because the heavy loads and burdens that I carry always become lighter when I do listen and build my trust in Him.
Learning from experience, let me suggest that in order for us to strengthen the foundations of our faith: (1) intently listen to God in prayer, (2) continuously seek service for the poor (it is in the poor we could see the face of God), and (3) deliberately find and feel God’s love in your life. It is our experiences of God’s love that change us. Good news, the Holy Spirit is with us and our help.
We pray, come Holy Spirit. Amen.
Guide for reflection:
What are your impure motivations in your service with the Church? Offer them to the Lord.
What do you desire to become as you offer your life to the Lord in service in His Church?
When were those times that the foundation of your faith were tested and shaken? How did you survive?