The immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe. (Ephesians 1:19)
“I am almost 52 now and it will be difficult for me to get another job,” I typed.
“You can still do it,” he replied.
I was exchanging messages on Facebook with a good friend from my university days. He is now a vice president of a New York-based financial institution.
It struck me how much this guy had immense hope that I would overcome my situation. It had been over five months that I’d been looking for a job, and I was close to quitting.
How embarrassing that I, a renewed Catholic, wasn’t conscious of the power of God. My friend’s confidence reminded me that indeed, there is nothing impossible for God (Matthew 19:26)! I repented for not trusting God enough.
A few weeks later, I had an interview with a director of an overseas information and communications technology company. It was a casual chat over a cup of cappuccino in a coffeeshop. We were like good old friends who exchanged our experiences in IT.
I saw the great power of God working.
After sips of this rich coffee, I was offered a good job overseas. Just believe!
Reflection: Are you thinking of quitting? Let God be God!
Prayer: Lord, I am sorry for not trusting You. From now on, direct my life. I fully trust in You.
[This reflection was first published in Didache, May 12, 2013]
“Set out for the great city… and preach…” – Jonah 1:2
I recall my first try to work overseas as I reflect on Jonah’s first mission.
I was hired as an IT manager of a leading retail company in Papua New Guinea. But in my heart there was a deeper mission: to spread the Good News.
My mission was a daunting task as I had no idea where to start. The city where I worked in was big. So I prayed. But for one whole year, I wasn’t able to preach. I continued to pray. After a year, doors opened wide. Opportunities to speak before various parish groups came. I became a regular preacher at the Diocesan Center for Renewal in the Archdiocese of Port Moresby. Eventually, I was chosen to head the evangelization ministry in the archdiocese.
Looking back, my first year was a time to acquaint myself with the local culture and traditions. I made friends with the locals and just allowed myself to be used as a channel of God’s love.
Thank You, Lord, for sending me to these people.
Romans 10:15 says, “How can people preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!'”
Reflection: What is your mission? Is it difficult? Just pray and continue to pursue!
Prayer: Lord, please strengthen me when I start to weaken, and encourage me when despair sets in. Amen.
[This reflection was first published in Didache 2015, Oct 4]
As soon as they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him. – Mark 6:54
“They’re here!” Announcing our arrival, the little boy immediately ran inside the campus and shouted again, “They’re here!”
As we stepped out of our van, the smiles of the little kids greeted us. I could sense an air of expectancy that they would receive something that day.
We went to this rural village for my daughter’s birthday. She wanted to celebrate by feeding a hundred children from poor families, give away school supplies and bags of groceries.
This experience made me reflect on our faith walk.
There are times when we we seem to drag our feet when we go to Mass. When invited to a prayer meeting or a Bible study, we find excuses not to go. Or if ever we say yes, we have no intention of really going.
Know that Jesus is present in the Eucharist. The Lord inhabits the praise and worship of His people. He is present in the prayer meeting. And blessings pour out during these events.
Recognize God’s presence and you will be excited just like the poor children who were expecting to receive.
Reflection: “Expectancy is the atmosphere for miracles.” (Edwin Louis Cole)
Prayer: Forgive me, Lord, for taking for granted Your presence in the events of my life. I receive Your love and mercy!
[This reflection was first published in Didache, Feb 8, 2016]
Tracing History at the Heritage Town of Taal
by Danny Tariman
It was a long weekend, as Monday was a special holiday. It was another opportunity for my family to travel!
My family started to drive to this 400-year-old town in Batangas early in the morning. Our idea is to eat lunch in Taal. We left our home at about 9am, and drove straight to South Luzon Expressway, to the STAR Tollway exiting at the city of Lipa.
After almost 2 hours of leisure drive, we reached the town of Alibagbag – a town before Taal – had a pit stop at its church. We offered some prayers inside. We then had the usual photo-ops. It was a very new church, and the opposite side of the street is the town plaza.
Another 15 more minutes of driving, we reached the old town of Taal. Wow, as we entered it, I was drawn to the old houses lining the streets. If I were not driving, I would have continuously took photos while we were moving. Haha!
Finally, we pulled our car at the parking area in front of Casa Real, the town’s old municipal hall, just in front of the famous Taal Chuch – the Basilica of Saint Martin of Tours.
The old church is about 150 years old from the time of its final construction. It is declared as a “National Heritage” site, and is described as the “Asia’s Biggest Cathedral”. We toured around the big church with its amazing ceiling and arches. When you look up, you will really be attracted by its beauty!
While touring the inside of the church, we met an old priest who invited to go and visit the “Bahay Pari” or the priests’ house.
We were awed and surprised at the antique get-up of the convent. I feel I am inside a museum! Old religious figures, house furniture, and items from past generations were on display. It was really an experience for us family. It took us a while to shoot each and every nook because, indeed, they were all worth the photos!
Before we knew it, it was already lunch time!
We walked to the other side of the road and wow, you can see rows of ancestral houses lining the streets!
We looked for a place to eat where local dishes and delicacies are served. At first, we were pointed to an upscale restaurant, but checking its menu, we decided to look for authentic Taal or Batangas local eatery.
We were not failed, as just a few more steps, we saw this small restaurant which offers “lomi” – a local noodles oozing with strips of pork, liver, fish ball, and others in rich, thick sauce. This is something we cant find in Manila. And so we went for it! At Php40 per bowl for the “special” dish, it was really filling!
We went to the Basilica’s church bell tower. Oh, it was an experience too. We had to pass by a very narrow staircase leading to the top – it was so constricting; only one person can pass at a time! It was dark too, if not for the small electric bulbs lighting the way. We finally reached the clarion bells – which I think was mechanized lately, because in the old time, one has to pull a rope to clang the bell! The bells are electric-driven now.
Further climb, and we reached the window arches. From here, you can have an unobstructed view of the town with a view reaching farther to Taal Lake on one side, and on the other side is the Mt Maculot. Really awesome!
Moving on with our heritage tour, we visited the Apacible House, which is reportedly the first ancestral house which was turned into a museum. Leon Apaciple, according to the house’ guide, is a classmate of the Philippine national hero, Dr Jose Rizal in Ateneo De Manila. On display are household items of the Apacible family: living room, dining room, bed room, kitchen – with old utensils and other items. It has also a prayer room filled with religious items. I was thinking that the family is a well-to-do family with all the house furnishing it got!
Another house-turned-museum we visited is the Agoncillo ancestral house. This is the house where the first Philippine flag was hand sewed by Marcella Agoncillo. This flag was first raised in Kawit, Cavite – the seat of Philippine independence. We visited all of the rooms available for tourists: living room, dining room, bedroom, the balcony (azotea), and others.
We took time to visit the Caysasay Church where the old image of the Immaculate Concepcion is kept. The image was “fished” out of the river, reportedly, after the eruption of Taal volcano. A few meters from the back of the church is a wellspring, from which water has some healing ability, according to local folks.
Around the town’s public market are several shops offering Filipino dresses made of local piña cloth. You can also try native rice cakes of various varieties. But what looks appealing to my taste-buds are the “kalamay” and the Batangas “lomi”.
Driving back, we passed by the lakeside road via Lemery, leading to Tagaytay City. It was an easy drive as only few vehicles pass by the road.
Another day of family adventure, another wonderful time spent together as family! Thank You LORD!
“Whatever point we reach, let us be of the same mind, and let us remain in the same rule” (Phil 3:16)
I recently had a very nice encounter with about 50 parents over the weekend where I gave a talk on parenting. I was happy to see interesting response of the parents especially on the matter of houserules.
True indeed that one of the important aspects of parenting is our houserules. As parents, we should clearly define the rules and standards that our children should abide.
Both parents should agree on the terms and the norms that the kids can “work or play with”. It will be difficult for kids whom to obey and to follow if parents have different views regarding a certain norm or rule. It has to be discussed between the parents, and prayed for.
When these norms or rules are agreed upon by both parents, and had been prayed about, it has to be required from all the children, and remain consistent – meaning it should not change very often. The Bible verse above is clear about this: “let us remain in the same rule”.
One of the reasons for conflicts in the family is our ill-defined family norms or houserules, and sometimes the inconsistency of application of these rules. As pointed out in 2 Timothy, no one can win unless one plays according to rules.
“No one who is an athlete wins a prize unless he competes according to the rules.” (2Tim 2:5)
There are many areas in our family life that we, as parents, should define the houserules. The list below will provide a list of areas that we can start:
Courtship – What age will you allow?
Dating – How do you want your child go on dates?
Curfew – What time should your children be at home?
Prayer time – What time during the day should kids have personal prayers? Family prayers?
Studies – What is your requirements for home work? School grades?
Church service – Do you want the family goes together every Sunday?
Friendships – What kind of friends do you want for your kids? Do you open your home to friends of your children? What are the limitations for going out with friends?
Dress Code – What kinds of dress do you allow your kids to wear – at home, when going out, when going to church, etc?
Gadgets – Do you allow kids to use gadgets while having family dinner? During studies?
Manners – Being grateful, courtesy and respect, honesty, openness, etc
The are many areas that we should be clear about. The list above should let you think of areas in your family life that you need to develop and define the norm or houserule.
One reminder for parents: norms or houserules should be “balanced”, and practical & applicable to your own family needs.
I pray that you will have a truly happy parenting, in Jesus’ name. Say “Amen” if you agree.
“If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it” – John 14:14
“So how did you manage to check in your overweight baggage?” asked the guard who was harassing me at the entrance of the Jackson’s International Airport.
“There is nothing impossible with the Lord!” I replied. “What?” came the puzzled reply from the guard. “I said, ‘there is nothing impossible with the Lord!’”
Earlier at the check-in counter of Air Nuigini, I was informed my baggage was overweight by 11 kilos. My head ran through the computations. I had to pay over PHP9,600 for a box of Ox & Palm corned beef. Way too much! But instead of giving up, I said a silent prayer, in the name of Jesus, to make it possible for me to check in my baggage without having to pay a single toea (Papua New Guinean equivalent of a cent).
After about 20 minutes, an assistant working at the check-in counter approached me. “Sir, my boss is asking you to come and check in your baggage.”
After a few questions, my baggage was accepted without me paying a single toea.
He is indeed the God of the impossible!
“All that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours.” (Mark 11:24)
Thank You, Lord, for giving us the key to answered prayers — Your name.
[This reflection was first published in Didache – May 3, 2010]