The story is told about an orchestra conductor who chided a drummer who was not doing well by saying: “When a musician can’t handle his instrument well, they take away his instrument and give him two sticks, and make him a drummer.” A whisper was heard from the percussion section: “And if he can’t even handle that, they take away one of his sticks, and make him a conductor.”
In today’s Gospel (Mk. 8:27-35), Jesus teaches us that our worth as persons is not so much about our performance, titles or popularity, as about following Him in humility and self-denial. Let us ask ourselves today: Is my self-worth and the worth of other people based on performance and achievements?
“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel, will save it.” If you find this stupid, foolish and amusing, that is simply because “you are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” Are you so conscious about your image? Instead of working so hard for, or losing sleep over, public opinion and approval, better focus on who you really are, and what God says about you.
Someone said that success is measured by others, while a satisfied life is measured by your soul, your mind and heart, and by God. Go beyond worldly measure. Beyond performance is obedience to God and perseverance. It is not our roles and functions that define us, but our relationship with our Master and God.
Rejection and persecution are part of discipleship. Failures and oppressions, too. Let’s go on anyway, follow Christ, and take up His cross daily.
Humility is the key to a meaningful life. Let us listen to God, and obey him in humility. Let us likewise listen to and serve one another in humility, and not think too highly of ourselves, or be ambitious, manipulating and proud. Humility sets us free.
By the time this column comes out, we hope that Typhoon “Ompong” has gone, and has not left much damage upon us. May we not become a storm that causes so much pain and suffering to others, even after we are gone. Likewise, may we not become a cross to other people. Life is hard enough. Let us not make life harder for them.
Before a typhoon, we pray and prepare. During a typhoon, we pray and be still. After a typhoon, we pray and share. That, too, is how we should handle whatever typhoons come into our lives. The common thread is prayer.
It was an uplifting experience to join the thanksgiving Mass of our SVD confreres, celebrating their anniversary as priests and religious, at the Shrine of Jesus the Divine Word last Sept. 12. From where I sat, I praised and thanked the Lord for giving us the gift of priestly and religious life, unworthy as we are.
It was also an emotional experience for me, fighting cancer at present, as I thanked the Lord for my confreres and forgave those who may have offended me by their unmindfulness and pride, as I likewise humbly asked for forgiveness in my heart. I asked the Lord for the grace that we will be together again, still, in our next jubilee celebration sometime in September next year.
Think about this: Are you a mindful person? A mindful person is a person who has a mind full of thoughts, principles and ideas. Or, it could mean a person who is thoughtful, considerate and kind. Which one are you?
A moment with the Lord:
Lord, remind us that if You were to judge us by performance, none of us would survive. Amen.
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